Remedies for allergies range from prescription medication to homeopathic treatments like grape seed extract, licorice root and massive doses of vitamin C. Few, if any, of these alternative treatments have proved effective, and medication often comes with unwelcome side effects.
Some people with allergies, however, find an air purifier. Manufacturers of these popular products claim that by removing or neutralizing animal dander, mold, pollen or other allergens, their air purifier will help eliminate all the allergens.
But health experts worry that this cure may not help everyone, especially if the unit uses ozone to clear the air. In some cases, according to Jeffrey Asher, vice president and technical director at Consumers Union, Negative side effects of air purifiers.
Negative side effects of air purifiers – Ionic Filter
Inhaling ozone, even in small amounts, can irritate the lungs. Specific effects may include throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath, as well as an increased risk of respiratory infections.
Some ozone air purifiers are made with an ion generator, sometimes called an ionizer, in the same unit.
You can also buy ionizers as separate units. Ionizers do remove particles from the air, causing them to attach to nearby surfaces or to each other and settle out of the air — but they may generate unwanted ozone.
Air filters that remove small particles — such as high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters — are effective in removing allergens from the air, without posing any ozone concerns. To work effectively, filters need to be cleaned or replaced regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are using air purifier in public, for example your office, consider using these air purifiers for office.
Negative side effects of air purifiers – Are You Adding Pollutants to Your Air?
Manufacturers of air purifiers claim that the ozone works by attaching an oxygen molecule to other particles in the air, which then neutralizes or eliminates the particle’s harmful or allergic properties.
Ozone, however, is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a pollutant that can produce serious adverse health effects. According to one EPA statement, “Relatively low amounts of ozone 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.”
Numerous medical experts have also weighed in, noting that adding ozone to the air might be the last thing an asthma or allergy sufferer would want to do.
Related post: Truth about air purifiers.
“For sensitive people who already are experiencing some respiratory distress, over a period of time the ozone generated by these units could cause them harm,” said Asher. “The people who need them [air cleaners] the most, many times buy an air cleaner that can harm them.
“The American Lung Association position is that ozone is an irritant,” said Edelman. “We don’t recommend any air filter that generates ozone.”
Negative side effects of air purifiers – How to get rid of these problems
Before investing in any treatment or air-cleaning product, most allergy experts recommend attacking the allergen, whether that involves rigorous cleaning and disinfecting or removing the source completely.
Related post: Do air purifier remove dust?
That may be easier said than done, however: “If you like Fluffy the cat, you’re not going to get rid of Fluffy,” said Asher.
Controlling allergens may be as simple as opening a window.
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