Will An Air Purifier Cause You To Become Sick?
The air quality of your home is the definition of an understated yet critical housekeeping element. It isn’t something we think about all that often – and, if we do, it’s generally because something’s gone wrong with our ventilation or air purification system.
According to a 2017 issue of Time, air pollution can be linked to as many as 200K premature deaths a year in the US. However, could the very purifiers that are meant to keep our air and pure be polluting problems in their own right?
Rumors have circulated online that air purifiers can leave people feeling sick. Is it true?
Simply put, while models with an ozone generator can, in certain circumstances, have the potential to make people ill, as long as you know which types to get and which to avoid, you can breathe easy with a quality air purifier.
How Air Purifiers Work
First and foremost, it’s important to know how air purifiers work, so we can better understand how – if at all – they might potentially lead to your getting ill.
The fact of the matter is, most air purifiers don’t leave you at risk of illness, precisely because they are constructed without the ozone-related parts. They serve to sift out particulates in the air without releasing any substances themselves or doing anything else. The most reliable of these can filter out particles as tiny as .3 microns big. As such, not only can these types of air filters get rid of pet dander and or flakes of dust, but they’re even capable enough to remove potential pollutants at the microscopic level as well.
A study by the Centre for Environmental Health Risk Analysis in Finland indicated that installing these types of filters in office ventilation systems can reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous particulates by as much as 27%. That’s remarkably efficient, and so it should come as no surprise that these types of air filters are commonly referred to as High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters – and they are typically the type you will want to get for your home.
The Source of This Claim
So if HEPA filters are so safe, clean, and ultimately reliable, from whence does the troubling claim of purifiers gone wrong arise? Simply put, not all air purifiers are created equal, and some of the parts in models other than the HEPA ones discussed above can potentially cause problems.
In particular, certain types of air purifiers that work by utilizing ionizing technology make use of ozone. At low levels, ozone doesn’t typically pose a problem for healthy adults. At higher concentrations, however, the potential for illness arises. This can include everything from merely irritating your sinuses or causing other forms of general unwellness to more significant respiratory difficulties.
While this does not itself mean that ionizers are inherently unsafe by any means, it does mean that you want to pay extremely close attention to the way in which they are used. After all, as stated, the main problem with these types of air purifiers is they can release ozone, which in turn can cause problems when present in higher than average concentrations.
Ionizers are not without their upsides. They release negative air ions which, according to 2005 of Psychological Medicine, can help reduce air pollution, which can in turn help alleviate depression.
As such, in large, well-ventilated areas, the risk of ozone-causing an issue in these cases is very slim. However, if you are looking to install an air purifier in smaller, more confined space, utilizing an ionizing, ozone-based air purifier can potentially be more harmful than the HEPA above variety.
Signs to Avoid
As noted in AFresherHome.com, several warning signs can help alert you to an air purifier that might be trouble. These signs can include:
- Respiratory irritation and difficulty
- Poor efficiency on the part of the purifier
- Signs of poor manufacturing quality
- A lack of odor absorption ability
- Overall low feedback from buyers online
An air purifier is, as stated, an essential part of one’s home. That said, you always want to be sure you know what you’re getting, and while ionizers can fit in well in certain situations, overall, the increased efficiency and lower risk factor of HEPA filters might help you breathe a whole lot easier.