Air purifiers make use of a range of technologies to eliminate contaminants and impurities in the air we breathe. The goal obviously, is to reduce impurities, contaminants, and allergens from the air to create a safer environment. When it comes to achieving this objective, some technologies and designs are more effective than others.
Ionizers have become very popular air purifiers but there have been a few lingering doubts about their safety. In this guide we will dig into the details of these products to answer the question – are ionizers safe?
Air Ionizers vs. Ionic Air Purifiers
Some people get confused with all the jargon used when discussing air purifiers. Given all the different technologies available it can become quite bewildering if you do not have experience investigating the various options. One thing that can cause confusion is the difference between air ionizers and ionic air purifiers. Let us clarify that for you.
An air ionizer and an ionic air purifier are essentially the same things. They both make use of ions or electrically charged air molecules to trap and remove impurities and contaminants in the air. The charged ions attract and bind with the impurities and contaminants in the air and then fall onto a collection plate in the device. These need to be cleaned from time to time but the air ionizer is quite low maintenance.
Unlike many other types of air purifiers, they do not make use of filters. They are effective at removing germs and fine particles from the air but not great at eliminating odors. They operate quietly which is ideal for bedrooms or other areas where noise could be an irritation.
Air ionizers or Ionic Air purifiers are also sometimes referred to as ion generators or ionic filters. For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to them as air ionizers but the terms can be used interchangeably.
Are Air Purifiers With Ionizers Safe
The most important aspect to be clear on, when considering this type of technology is – are air purifiers with ionizers safe? The entire point of investing in an air purifier is to improve the air quality for the improved health and safety of those in the area where you use it. One that is unsafe will naturally do more harm than good.
There has been some controversy surrounding the safety of air ionizers and before investing in one, you want to be sure of the answer to the question many ask – are air ionizers safe?
The main source of concern over the years relates to the fact that many people do not fully understand the technology. They often get them confused with ozone generators. These are totally different and the ozone they generate can indeed be a cause for concern.
Many of the early models marketed as ionizers produced a significant amount of ozone and a number of reports were released that gave the concept a bad reputation. Fortunately, the majority of those products are no longer available and quality air ionizers work well and as a result, are completely safe.
The negatively charged ions produced by air ionizers are not harmful and will attract and trap the charged particles including the potentially harmful particles in the air which if untreated could lead to throat irritation or respiratory infections. This will leave the air safer for a healthy environment.
Negative ions are natural and lightning, sun, and even waterfalls produce them. This creation of negative ions or ionization is similar to the process used by ionizers. In the right amount, they not only improve air quality but also have health benefits. They are known to boost your energy and even aid in emotional well-being.
The quality air ionizers produce little to no ozone as a byproduct or give you complete control over the amount of ozone they create. Anything at less than 50 parts per billion (PPB) is perfectly safe. More than 200 PPB is potentially dangerous for most people.
Provided you select an air ionizer that meets the above criteria then they are perfectly safe. They will work quietly and effectively removing the majority of impurities in the air for a safer environment.
Avoid ozone generators unless you have a specific reason for needing one, understand how they work and you use them correctly.
How Do Ionizers Compare to HEPA Filters
When investigating air purifiers it is important to consider the various types available and the technologies they use. One of the more sophisticated and effective options is a purifier with a true HEPA filter. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are able to efficiently filter the air, removing particles 0.3 microns or larger with a 99.97% effectiveness.
HEPA is a standard that is strictly monitored to ensure a true HEPA filter meets the necessary effectiveness giving you added peace of mind that the purifier will work well and deliver quality air that is free of most impurities and contaminants. HEPA air purifiers are extremely safe and highly effective.
Another option is a HEPA-type air filter. While they are not quite as effective as true HEPA filters, they will still eliminate particles that are 2 to 3 microns in size with an effectiveness of 95%.
Potential Dangers of Ionic Air Purifiers
Most people understand the benefits of a good air purifier. It is a sad reality that indoor air quality is generally of a poor quality without the use of a good air purifier. Air purification is therefore beneficial for the health and well being of those breathing the air, whether you’re at home or at the office. It is, however, essential that you get one that works well and is 100 percent safe.
So, the question still remains – are air purifiers with ionizers safe? As we mentioned above, the health and safety concerns regarding air ionizers were mainly related to ozone generators. These can pose a health risk, particularly for those that suffer from asthma. A number of consumer reports emerged in 2005 related to an ionizer, the Ionic Breeze marketed by Sharper Image, that apparently created a potentially dangerous amount of ozone. While the company in question disputed this they ultimately went bankrupt.
While ozone has benefits for the environment and, in the right amount, our health, the right quantity is critical. Too much ozone can result in shortness of breath, a cough, and chest pain. This fact is confirmed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Any device that generates high levels of ozone should be avoided.
While there are concerns regarding ozone generators one need not fear any ionic air purifier dangers. The right air cleaner will benefit those that breathe indoor air and reduce the side-effects on potential damage caused by poor air quality.
Ionizer Air Purifiers Good or Bad?
The simple answer to the question “are ionizers safe?” is a resounding yes. The only caveat is that you get the right one.
What is important, when selecting an air purifier, is that you are aware of the technology that is used and how they work. In summary, an air ionizer that allows you to control ozone levels or produces no ozone is perfectly safe.
As with all air purifiers, you need to know how best to use them and where to place them. You want to position the air purifier in the area where people spend the most time for maximum benefit.
Do a bit of investigating, invest in the right air purifier for your needs, follow the instructions and you can’t go wrong.
Sadly, there are still a few potentially harmful products on the market that give the quality models a bad reputation. Provided you choose according to the guidance in this article you can enjoy quality air for the improved health of those that live or work in the environment.
Clean air is something that cannot be taken for granted these days and the right air purifier will remove potentially dangerous and harmful airborne particles for improved health.