Ozone Air Purifiers

Warning: We do NOT recommend ozone air purifiers for any residential or clinical air purification applications. There is ample scientific evidence that the use of ozone generating air purifiers is harmful to the health of occupants that are exposed to the ozone generated by these systems. Credible independent health and safety organizations including the U.S. EPA, Health Canada, and the American Lung Association have spoken out against the use of this type of air purifier. If you have an ozone generating air purifier, we highly recommend that you stop using it immediately.

What is an ozone generator or ozone air purifier?

Ozone generators create ozone gas - a volatile oxygen derivative that has three oxygen atoms instead of two. Because oxygen needs to have two atoms to be stable, ozone readily gives up the third oxygen atom. That third oxygen atom combines with other molecules, turning them into other substances. This process creates a powerful oxidation reaction that can kill microorganisms and break down many organic substances known to cause odors.

Unfortunately, the specific chemical reactions that occur are difficult to control. While many reactions end up creating harmless substances, other reactions can form substances that are more harmful. Reactions with non-target substances (including plastics in the home) can also occur. Ozone is extremely corrosive to plastics and some metals, meaning that it can result in damage to household items, computers, wire insulation, duct work, pipes, etc.

On a more serious note, ozone is a well known toxin to most living tissue. It has been implicated in respiratory irritation and is considered a likely cause of damage to lung tissue. When inhaled, even at low levels, ozone can cause respiratory problems in children, the elderly, and even healthy adults. Long term exposure to ozone may lead to premature aging of the lungs and chronic respiratory illness. Relatively low exposure can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation.

"It (ozone) can have damaging health effects, especially for persons with asthma and other lung diseases, children and the elderly. It is produced by ozone generators and some other electronic air cleaners."
American Lung Association

"Health Canada warns the public not to use air cleaners designed to intentionally generate ozone (ozone generators) in their homes."
Health Canada

Be aware that many sales pitches will use the terms "energized oxygen" or "pure air" instead of ozone. According to the EPA these terms are misleading:
"Ozone is a toxic gas with vastly different chemical and toxicological properties from oxygen."
Environmental Protection Agency

In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites research on it's website that indicates that ozone is not effective in removing many of the problematic air pollutants from the home, and may even take some relatively harmless substances and convert them into ones that are more harmful than the originals.

"Available scientific evidence shows that at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone has little potential to remove indoor air contaminants."
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

What contaminants do ozone air purifiers remove?

Ozone generators / air purifiers are designed primarily to kill bacteria and viruses and other harmful microorganisms, and to remove odors.

Dust Mites
Dust
Mites
poor
poor
Mold Spores
Mold
Spores
fair
fair
Pollen

Pollen
poor
poor
Pet Dander
Pet
Dander
poor
poor
Tobacco Smoke
Tobacco
Smoke
fair
fair
Chemicals & VOCs
Chemicals
& VOCs
poor
poor
General Odors
General
Odors
fair
fair
Bacteria / Viruses
Bacteria/
Viruses
fair
fair

Evaluation of Ozone Generator Technology