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GBlist: California Health Dept warns on ozone air cleaners


SACRAMENTO -- State health officials today alerted consumers that not all
indoor air cleaning devices are alike and certain types could cause health
problems for
some people. 

"People should avoid using indoor air cleaning devices that produce ozone,
sometimes referred to by marketers as activated oxygen," said Jim Stratton,
M.P.H., State Health Officer. "These devices can quickly produce enough
ozone in a confined space to exceed the California Stage 2 and 3 smog alert
levels as
well as worker health and safety standards." 

Ozone is the primary chemical that makes up smog and can produce a variety
of health problems. Long term exposure to high levels of ozone may result in
permanent lung damage. Ozone can also cause eye, throat and nose irritation
and increased sensitivity to airborne irritants. 

"The elderly, people with respiratory disease and families with
children--the people most likely to be interested in using an air
cleaner--are also the most susceptible
to the toxic effects of ozone," Stratton said. "People seeking cleaner
indoor air should look at air cleaning devices that utilize other technology
such as filters, ionizers
and electrostatic precipitators." 

Although ozone generating machines are promoted as air cleaners, independent
studies have shown that the machines do not effectively destroy microbes, remove
odor sources or reduce indoor pollutants sufficiently to provide any health
benefits. The Federal Trade Commission has recently taken action against some
manufacturers of ozone generating machines for making unsupported claims
about the ability of the machines to clean air. 

The most effective way to avoid indoor air pollution problems is to remove
the sources of pollution or prevent emissions from occurring. For many
people, the most
effective way to reduce indoor air pollution is to stop smoking. People
concerned with indoor air pollution in their homes should consult a heating,
ventilation and air
conditioning professional. 

Hal Levin         <hlevin@cruzio.com>

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