Air Purifiers

By: Paul Aker
By: Paul Aker

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Air Purifiers
Experts say using ozone-based purifiers could make you sick.

Everyone has heard about problems with mold and other pollutants that could be in our homes. Now, experts say cleaning the air could be what makes you sick.

Health officials say some air cleaning devices on the market are unfit for home use. Ozone cleaners are designed to remove pollutants from the air. The cleaners generate ozone, a form of oxygen that is supposed to wipeout pollutants like odors, bacteria and mold.

Duke and Victoria Struck purchased four ozone cleaners to use in their home. Soon after the ozone started pumping, Victoria and her young daughter became very sick with bronchitis.

Experts say ozone generators can be harmful and most people who buy them do not know the danger they are bringing into their home. Andrew Cuddihy from the American Lung Association says ozone generators can be harmful. He says just a little bit of ozone can cause health problems, including chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and even permanent lung damage.

The problem has become so serious that lawsuits have been filed across the country and several states have taken action. Six states have already issued warnings against using residential air cleaners. No such warning has been issued in Kansas, but experts say everyone should heed the warnings.

The American Lung Association says the cleaners should not be used in anyone's home. Still, one manufacturer defends the cleaners and claims they are both safe and effective. Industry advocate Michael Chunko says consumers should realize too much of anything can lead to health problems. He says if used correctly, ozone generators can safely purify the air, eliminate odors and provide benefits.

The federal government has standards on ozone air levels and ozone emitted from medical devices, but so far there have been no restrictions placed on ozone air purifiers.

Here are some tips to help you avoid problems with air quality in your home:

  • If you suspect you have serious mold problems in your home, do not rely on an air purifier.

  • Get an environmental health expert to check out your house.

  • If you've noticed a breathing problem after buying an air purifier, don't ignore it. Tell your doctor immediately.

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