Release 07-62
December 17, 2007

    Dimitri Stanich
Consumer product alert: Don't purchase high ozone air cleaners

Using ozone to clean indoor air is worse than no cleaner at all

SACRAMENTO: The California Air Resources Board is warning consumers this holiday season to not purchase air purifiers or air cleaning devices that intentionally generate ozone. Consumers may unknowingly purchase these "ozone generators" from advertisers touting the so-called benefits of "activated oxygen' that can make the air inside your home "as fresh as the air after a thunderstorm."

Some ozone generators produce potentially harmful levels of ozone that can worsen asthma, cause serious lung inflammation, decrease lung function, and lead to hospitalization for respiratory conditions, emergency room visits for asthma, and increased school absences. Ozone, a well known component of outdoor smog, has been extensively studied and the harmful effects well documented. Ozone generators are capable of emitting enough ozone indoors to far exceed outdoor health standards, equivalent to intentionally creating a Stage 1 smog alert level inside your home.

The sale of these devices will be regulated by the Air Resources Board beginning in early 2008 with devices being tested to assure they do not emit harmful levels of ozone. Testing of air cleaners by certified laboratories, however, is expected to take up to two years, during which time such device can continue to be sold. For that reason, the Air Resources Board recommends that consumers avoid purchasing any air cleaner for home or office that intentionally emits ozone. A list of air cleaners to avoid is available here.

The best and most effective way to avoid indoor air pollution problems is to remove the sources of the pollution or prevent emissions to begin with. Improving fresh-air ventilation is also helpful. Information on these approaches is available here: /research/indoor/indoor.htm. Persons still wishing to use an air cleaner should look for models that use high efficiency pleated filters, known as HEPA filters, or electrostatic precipitators. Ratings for these are available in Consumer Reports articles and at the Association of Home Appliances' Clean Air Delivery Rate directory, accessible here: /research/indoor/ozone.htm . ARB's fact sheet entitled " Air Cleaning Devices for the Home: Frequently Asked Questions" is also available at the site and can help you select the appropriate air cleaner for your needs.

Again, these devices pump a known air pollutant into people's homes putting everyone at risk, especially the most vulnerable amongst us, the young, the elderly and infirm.

For further information about ozone-emitting air cleaners and the Air Resources Board regulation visit here, or call the ARB indoor air hotline at 916-322-8282.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.