High-level ozone exposure dangerous: Is your air purifier a risk?
Do you know which singer has over 100 million views on YouTube?
Susan Boyle sang in the choir and performed karaoke at local pubs. But she struggled to get producers interested in her demo CD. Her mother persuaded her to enter Britain’s Got Talent, a high rating TV show.
At her audition, she sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables. Or rather powered her way through the song with her mezzo-soprano voice. The audience erupted. A standing ovation before she finished the opening phrase. Susan Boyle was an overnight sensation. The exposure was unbelievable.
Her first album sold over 3 million copies in the US alone. And Susan has gone on to a successful singing career with five albums released to date.
The high-level exposure received from that audition gave her career a tremendous kick-start. But, you can’t say the same about high-level exposure to ozone. Undue exposure to ozone from air purifiers is dangerous to your health. Let’s find out why.
What is ozone?
It’s a blue colored gas, with a strong odor. It has three oxygen atoms in a molecule. These atoms turn the gas into a powerful oxidant that causes harsh corrosive reactions.
Ozone as an oxidant in the upper atmosphere is “good.” Because it protects the earth by reacting to absorb ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.
Ozone also exists in the surface air and usually doesn’t affect us. But if it increases above normal levels it is dangerous.
Why is it dangerous?
Oxidants cause a corrosive reaction when they come in contact with any solid matter. A good example is unprotected steel that rusts with exposure to oxidants in the air.
At normal levels, ozone in the air is ok. But breathing air with ozone levels outside the norm triggers health problems. Just like with steel, the ozone reacts to corrode our internal organs. The corrosion leads to worsening conditions, even if you’re healthy:
- Throat irritation.
- Chest pain.
- Inflammation in the airway.
- Damage to airways and lung tissue.
Also, it’s dynamite with lung diseases like asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Asthma attacks increase, lung infections occur, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may result.
All in all, ozone is not healthy. And you need to avoid higher concentrations.
You have no control over the ozone resulting from human activity. But, you could use an air purifier to reduce ozone levels indoors. Maybe you already do. Ask yourself the question though. Is it reducing or increasing the ozone in your house?
Is your air purifier the problem?
Believe it or not until 2008 ozone generating air purifiers were big sellers. The marketing message trumpeted: “ozone kills the contaminants you breathe and has a pleasant smell too.”
By 2008, though, the evidence had built up that ozone kills at concentrated levels. In that year, California banned ozone generating air purifiers that did not meet a minimum standard. It’s still the only state to do so.
But, even in California, ozone air purifiers are still sold. They need only meet the standard. Elsewhere, there are no limits.
If you live in California, the question is, did you buy your air purifier before 2008? Is it an ozone generator? Even if you bought an air purifier after 2008 does it produce ozone, but it’s not on the banned list? Is there enough ventilation in your room to prevent the buildup of unhealthy levels of ozone?
And no matter when you bought it, the same questions apply if you live in any other state.
But how dangerous is it if manufacturers still make air purifiers that produce ozone?
This is the crazy thing.
We outlined earlier the severe impact of ozone. There was enough evidence back in 2008 proving its harmful health effects.
The EPA has advisory warnings not to use them. But it has not issued a ban on their sale or distribution. So, ozone generator air purifiers can still be legally sold in any state, other than minimum standard units in California.
Yes, they are still made, but it’s not worth the risk. Don’t buy ozone air purifiers.
We’ve learned ozone in the upper layer is “good.” And that ozone exists naturally in the air we breathe in the lower atmosphere. But human activity causes the volume of ozone to rise. When it reaches unhealthy and dangerous levels the air rating changes from”good” to “bad.”
The danger exists because ozone is an oxidant that eats away at anything it contacts. Air with higher levels of ozone result in serious health effects:
- from mild breathing irritation,
- to organ damage,
- to disease,
- and to death in some cases.
Ozone generating air purifiers are still available for sale in the US.
Think it through before you buy one.
And if you already own an air purifier, does it generate ozone? Consider throwing it out, or, at least, take action to prevent ozone levels rising in your room. Check it today.
High exposure was perfect for Susan Boyle’s career. But not so for us when it comes to ozone air purifiers. We need to be exposure-free.