Are Air Purifiers With Ionizers Safe?

Have doubts on how safe an air purifier is with an ionizer? You're not alone. Air cleaners have evolved throughout the years with new technologies implemented every now and then. Some are for sheer convenience while others help remove airborne impurities for better air quality. In this post, we are exploring the safeness of an ionizer that can be found in most modern air purifiers. Find out why air ionizer is gaining traction and does negative ions come with any side effects that could bring danger to your health.
Short answer
Air ionizers are safe.


Are Air Purifiers With Ionizers Safe

Air ionizers are safe to use and harmless to our health. It emits millions of negatively charged ions that attract and bond with other positive ions contaminants in the air, pulling it down from the increased weight. The harmful contaminants will then be captured by the air purifier’s filter resulting in a cleaner, safer, and healthier air environment.

Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that are naturally occurred in environments such as waterfalls, mountains, beaches, lightning storms, and sunlight. Besides improve indoor air quality, inhaling negative ions can boost your emotional well-being. Health benefits include an increase in daytime energy levels, alleviate depression, relieve stress, and being happier by producing biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin.

Air Ionizer Dangers

Ionizers or ionic air purifiers pose no danger to our health. The biggest concern is many people cannot tell the differences between ozone generators and ionic air purifiers. The reason for the confusion is the unethical practice by few bad apples. Some manufacturers labeled their “ozone generators” as “air purifiers” to fool the consumers so they can sell more units to the market. It is unethical and can cause more harm than good.

A good example would be the infamous Sharper Image Ionic Breeze case. An electrostatic precipitator air purifier that releases a dangerous traces amount of ozone byproducts according to Consumer Reports in 2005. Sharper Image, the company for Ionic Breeze refuted the claims and brought them to court but ultimately lost. It was the final nail to the coffin as the company when bankrupt after the lawsuit.

Ozone generator has received many bad stigmas from the press and many health agencies like CARB, FDA due to the adverse health effects it brings. It is further solidified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that recommends users to avoid air cleaning device that produces a high concentration of ozone. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the ozone output for air-cleaning devices to be no more than 0.05 parts per million (ppm). This is later followed by The Clean Air Act that EPA must set national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone. You can refer to the below air quality index (AQI) for safe ozone emission.

  • Good – 0 to 50 ppm
  • Moderate – 51 to 100 ppm
  • Unhealthy (sensitive groups) – 101 to 150 ppm
  • Unhealthy – 151 to 200 ppm
  • Very unhealthy – 201 to 300 ppm
  • Hazardous – 301 ppm and higher

Ionizer Air Purifier Side Effects

Ion air purifiers that do not comply with CARB ozone limited regulation will emit harmful byproducts like ozone. Because Ozone is a gas molecule that can be exposed through the mouth, nose, or eyes, inhaling to small trace amounts can cause side effects such as:

  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Lungs/ Throat irritation
  • Lung scarring
  • Damaged and scarred lungs (Pulmonary fibrosis)
  • Worsen chronic respiratory diseases
  • Asthma attack
  • Weakened body immune system

In conclusion, go with a genuine air ionizer that diffuses very little to no ozone byproducts. Be careful when purchasing an air purifier with an ionizer from unknown or unreputable brands. Make sure to look closely at the air purifier’s technical specifications and find out what is the ozone output. Rather than wasting time scouring the internet for the right model, click here for the best ionic air purifier safe for everyday use.

Ionic Air Purifier VS HEPA Air Purifier

While both devices can improve air quality, there are big differences between an ionic air purifier and a HEPA air purifier. An ionic air purifier generates negative charge ions that attract and pull down large airborne pollutants in the air. The technology is filter-free, silent, and cost-effective. On the other hand, a HEPA air purifier draws air into its multiple filtrations that trap finer particles, smoke, and odors as small as 0.3 microns. It is 100% ozone-free as no harmful byproducts are created during the air purification. The only downside is the HEPA and carbon filter require replacing which will add up to the maintenance cost.

So should you get an ionic air purifier or a HEPA air purifier? Go with a HEPA air purifier that offers superior air cleaning and particles filtration over an ionic air purifier. Then again, why not both? There are plenty of HEPA air purifiers with ionizer technology in the market that works very well together.

Types Of Air Ionizer Purifiers

There are 2 common types of ionizer air purifiers in the market: ion generators and electrostatic precipitators. Both use the same technology with little difference between them. Here is the breakdown:

  • Electrostatic precipitators - Disperse negatively charged ions into the air via corona discharge. The dispersed ions will merge with positively charged ions particles and collect them onto a flat plate. Electrostatic Precipitators is primarily used in a standalone ionizer as it can permanently remove and collect pollutants in the air.
  • Ion generators - Disperse ions via corona discharge or UV-light but without the use of a collecting plate. Without an air purifier, the attached dirty particles will be stuck on surface areas like the wall, ceiling, bed, cabinet, table, carpet, or floor. You will need to vacuum regularly to remove the fallen dirty particles.

The differences between Air Ionizers, Ionic Air Purifiers, And Negative Ion Generator

Ignore the different jargon and name as they are essentially the same thing. Air ionizers, ionic air purifiers, and negative ion generators use the same corona discharge technology to remove airborne impurities. You can use the names interchangeably or refer to the original name the manufacturer has chosen.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.
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