Setting up an air purifier at home has become a common trend as people look for ways to protect themselves. Yet one needs to ask themselves some questions. Are ozone air purifiers safe?
Ozone air purifiers are not safe, even though the labels on these machines claim they are. Ozone air purifiers emit ozone, an official air pollutant. Small levels can cause coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Ozone can aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions.
More and more individuals are taking proactive measures against air pollution and pollutants that cause ailments like asthma.
For those considering purchasing an air purifier, the words “ozone” and “negative ionization” may be used to describe how they treat the air.
Some consumers list these features as things they do not want in an air purifier, but the question is whether or not all air purifiers give off ozone and positive ionization.
Ozone (O3) is a molecule that forms when three oxygen atoms bond together. It has one extra neutron than normal oxygen, which gives it a higher density.
Ozone is a heavy molecule and falls back to earth, landfills, water treatment plants, etc. There it acts as a toxic pollutant that has been linked to respiratory problems in humans.
Are Ozone Air Purifiers Safe?
Why do some ozone air purifiers have a warning that says, “These devices should not be used in occupied spaces”?
Ozone is a powerful oxidizing agent and the reason behind this warning. Too much ozone can cause breathing problems.
Listed below are reasons why you shouldn’t run an ozone generator in your home:
1. Ozone can irritate the mucous membranes.
2. Ozone can cause coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
3. Ozone can aggravate asthma or other respiratory conditions.
4. Prolonged exposure to ozone may result in permanent lung damage, which is why people who have chronic respiratory conditions should consult with their physician before using an ozone generator.
5. Excessive exposure to ozone may also cause damage to plants and materials.
6. Ozone can actually make odors worse by reacting with odor-causing particles, thus creating new chemicals that smell terrible.
7. You run the risk of injuring your eyes or skin if exposed to high levels of ozone.
8. Ozone should not be used by children or pets.
Just because the warning is on the label, however, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true for all modern air purifiers that are labeled as “ozone-free”.
As long as the product has no pre-filter to generate ozone this means that the ozone is produced by the purifier itself.
Are Ozone Air Purifiers Safe for Pets?
There are claims that ozone can be harmful to animals. Is that true? Are ozone air purifiers safe for pets?
Ozone air purifiers are not safe for pets, just as they are not safe for humans. Ozone is toxic and should never be exposed to pets. Due to the proven health problems that ozone causes in humans, it would be ignorant to think that ozone would not affect our pets.
Please be kind to your pets and don’t expose them to this harmful substance. There are air purifiers that are ozone-free, so you’re in luck.
Can Ozone Air Purifiers Make You Sick?
The EPA says “yes”, but the makers of ozone air purifiers say they can reduce or even eliminate many common indoor air contaminants.
Is one side right and the other wrong? It’s not that simple.
It depends on how high an indoor ozone concentration is safe for each pollutant. For some contaminants, the maximum allowed ozone concentration is well above typical indoor levels.
For others, the EPA recommends keeping indoor ozone concentrations below 0.05 ppm (parts per million). And for still others, it’s even tougher. Try to keep ozone levels at or below 0.01 ppm.
The following health effects occur with exposure to ozone:
- Permanent lung damage can lead to chronic respiratory disease.
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation.
- Wheezing, dry throat, headache.
- Decreased lung capacity.
- Damage to cilia (tiny hairs) in the lungs that move mucus out of the lungs and airways.
Ozone generators should not be used by people with chronic respiratory problems such as asthma.
Using ozone generators near pets is dangerous for both people and animals because exposure causes eye and respiratory tract irritation, nausea, and vomiting.
Do All Air Purifiers Give Off Ozone?
Most air purifiers that use electric ionization (Ionizer) technology produce ozone, but there are different levels of ozone production.
Some air purifiers produce more ozone than others. Additionally, air purifiers that use UV technology or negative ionization do not produce any ozone at all.
How much is too much?
Some inquiries ask how much ozone is considered “too much” in an air purifier.
The answer to this question varies depending on who you ask; however, most authoritative sources say that the ozone level an air purifier should produce is less than 0.05ppm.
According to Dr. David Aujero, an expert on electrochemical processes at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), exposure to too much ozone can damage cells and tissues in both humans and animals.
Babies, children, people with respiratory disease, heart disease, anemia, or those taking certain medications are more susceptible to ozone’s effects.
The EPA has set aside 0.075 parts per million as the level considered safe for all people over eight hours.
Ozone levels will vary based on location and other factors, including the size of the room, the number of air purifiers in use, and so forth.
In conclusion, ozone is listed as a harmful pollutant that can cause various health problems such as breathing difficulties, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and skin irritations to those exposed to concentrations exceeding 0.11 parts per million for a period of hours or even minutes.
“You should be concerned about the air in your home if you have respiratory problems, heart disease, or anemia,” said Dr. Lynne Pinkerton, director of public health sciences at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine.
“If it’s summertime and you open up windows but get ozone inside, that could be dangerous.”
High concentrations can also harm animals and plants by damaging leaves and promoting disease.
About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.