The Danger of Ozone Generators: General Information, Related Research

The Danger of Ozone Generators - known respiratory irritants


Air Conditioners ... Ozonators - Helpful or Harmful?

Also Refer to Article: Ozone: Helpful or Harmful

The same chemical properties that allow high concentrations of ozone to react with organic material outside the body give it the ability to react with similar organic material that makes up the body, and potentially cause harmful health consequences. When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs (see - "Ozone and Your Health").

Relatively low amounts can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and throat irritation. Ozone may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections.

People vary widely in their susceptibility to ozone. Healthy people, as well as those with respiratory difficulty, can experience breathing problems when exposed to ozone. Exercise during exposure to ozone causes a greater amount of ozone to be inhaled, and increases the risk of harmful respiratory effects. Recovery from the harmful effects can occur following short-term exposure to low levels of ozone, but health effects may become more damaging and recovery less certain at higher levels or from longer exposures (US EPA, 1996a, 1996b).

A study in Encyclopedia Britannica found that levels as low as 0.12 parts per million have a negative effect on human respiratory systems. There is no standard for the level of ozone that is safe for parrots. We do know that the avian respiratory system is much more sensitive than the human system.

The only safe thing to do is not use Ozone air cleaners. Standard HEPA air filters are a much safer choice.

Environmental Protection Agency: "Ozone, a lung irritant, is produced indirectly by ion generators and some other electronic air cleaners and directly by ozone generators. While indirect ozone production is of concern, there is even greater concern with the direct, and purposeful introduction of a lung irritant into indoor air. There is no difference, despite some marketers' claims, between ozone in smog outdoors and ozone produced by these devices. Under certain use conditions ion generators and other ozone generating air cleaners can produce levels of this lung irritant significantly above levels thought harmful to human health."

Consumer Reports recommends against introducing anything to your home that emits ozone even in small amounts. Ozone is created as high voltage converts oxygen to ozone. All electrostatic precipitators can create ozone, though some emit more than others. Some people mistake ozone's sweet smell for a sign of cleaner air.

"Ground-level ozone, the chief ingredient of smog, has been linked to decreases in lung function and increased risks of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, and lung-tissue inflammation. Filter air purifiers like most in our recent report trap dust, pollen, and smoke without emitting ozone. Electrostatic precipitators typically create ozone in small amounts, although Consumer Reports recommends against introducing anything to your home that emits ozone even in small amounts."


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