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Air purifiers

Air purifiers using ozone can make air quality worse when combined with air freshener chemicals

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 by: M. T. Whitney
Tags: air purifiers, indoor air quality, health news


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Scientists at the University of California in Irvine have made a surprising discovery -- using an air purifier with commercial air fresheners can actually make your indoor air quality worse in most cases.

Jump directly to: conventional view | alternative view | bottom line

What you need to know - Conventional View

• Air purifiers give off ozone, and that reacts badly with volatile organic compounds like limonene - the chemical used to make the artificial smell of lemon - found in air fresheners and household cleaners.

• Some ionic air purifiers emit ozone as a byproduct of the ionization process. In fact, some air purifiers will actually emphasize their ozone-producing qualities.

• "Excess ozone can damage the lungs, causing chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation," according to a UCI press release.

• The study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, involved running two types of air purifiers in an empty office space, and taking air samples. Limonene vapor was sprayed into the air at timed intervals.

• "These air purifiers can not only elevate the level of ozone, a formidable air pollutant in itself, but also increase the amount of harmful particulate matter in indoor air," Sergey Nizkorodov, assistant professor of chemistry at UCI and co-author of the study, said in a UCI press release.

What you need to know - Alternative View

Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center

• Commercial air fresheners, in my opinion, contains chemicals that are hazardous to human health and may promote asthma or even cancer. Adding ozone to the mixture seems to potentiate the harmful effects of the chemicals.

• If you are attempting to add a fresh scent to your home, I recommend using only natural essential oils with an aromatherapy diffuser.

Bottom line

The effects of investing in an air purifier is nullified if you use chemical cleaners in the same room.

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