What is ozone and is it harmful?
Ozone (O3) is composed of three atoms of Oxygen, and it is a highly reactive gas. It is both a natural and a man-made product that occurs in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and lower atmosphere.
Though ozone in the upper atmosphere is protective, ozone in the lower atmosphere – which is the air we breathe – can be harmful to the respiratory system. Some health agencies, such as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the USA, have reported that there is a variety of health effects associated with high levels of ozone. This may include decreased lung function, throat irritation, severe asthma symptoms, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, irritation of lung tissue, and the higher sensitivity to respiratory infection.
How can air purifiers generate Ozone?
There is an important distinction to make here, between air purifiers and ozone generators, since both these two types of devices can release ozone when in use, but there is a distinctive difference
Ozone generators intentionally produce ozone. They are usually called “air cleaners” and they don’t use a filter. Manufacturers claim that these devices clean the air by releasing ozone into the air of the room. According to them, the ozone reacts with the harmful gases, bacteria and viruses, and destroys them.
Air purifiers work by filtering the air. These filters can be merely a HEPA filter, or a combination of a HEPA filter with an Activated Carbon filter. Filtering the air this way does not produce any ozone, however some air purifiers manufacturers include additional technologies in their devices that can produce ozone as a byproduct. This is the case of air purifiers that contain electrostatic precipitators, ionizers, UV lights without adequate lamp coatings, and plasma air cleaners. All these have the potential to emit ozone.
Although some claim that the small levels of ozone produced by electrostatic air cleaners is safe for most people, the EPA, the American Lung Association and most other expert sources recommend against using these devices.
Can Ozone clean the air and remove bad smells?
If used at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards (like the concentrations that can be produced by air purifiers that release ozone as a byproduct), ozone will not effectively remove viruses, bacteria, mold, or other biological pollutants. However, the dangers that ozone poses to human health are a concern even at these low concentrations.
In higher concentrations (as produced by ozone generators), ozone may inhibit the growth of some biological agents, but it is unlikely to fully eliminate the biological pollutants from the air unless ozone concentrations are high enough that makes air toxic to breathe. For example, in places where ozone is used as an air cleaner (like hospitals), it is done in such a high concentration that this process is carried out without anybody present in the room, and it requires extensively airing out the treated space before people can get back in.
How to check that an air purifier is ozone-free?
In StellarAirCleaning.co.uk, we review many types of air purifiers, operating under different technologies. We classify them by a set of attributes to make it easy for our customers to see the main features and characteristics of each device at a glance, thus making the decision easier. Check the Attributes table at the bottom of each product to see if the purifier is ozone-free.
If you want to see a list of air purifiers that are guaranteed to be ozone-free, have a look below