Ionic Air Purifier Dangers: Are They Safe? Any Side Effects?


Air ionizers are created with the goal of purifying the air by eliminating airborne impurities surrounding us. However, despite the many benefits enticed, many people have concerns about air ionizers. The most frequently asked question is whether they are dangerous to use. The answer could be more straightforward and varies depending on who you ask. Detractors claim that air ionizers emit high levels of ozone, which can have detrimental effects not only on the environment but also on our health.

To reduce any potential ozone exposure risk, the government has mandated and regulated strict standards on the amount of ozone byproducts any air purifier emits. Inhaling high levels of ozone can be detrimental to your health. That is proven time and time again by many independent health agencies. One might experience chest pain, coughing, headache, shortness of breath, and damage to your lungs.

How do air ionizers work?

Air ionizers work by releasing negatively charged particles that bond with positively charged particles in the air, such as dust, microbes, odors, airborne bacteria or illnesses, smoke, and other allergens. Once these particles bond, they become too heavy to stay in the air and fall to the ground, where they can be easily removed by vacuuming or dusting.

There is a clear distinction between an ionizer and a HEPA air purifier. In the market, you will often see air ionizers or ionic air purifiers names used interchangeably. Both are identical and offered the same electrically charged molecules technology to purify the air. For the purpose of this guide, we will refer to them as air ionizers.

Benefits of air ionizers

Air ionizers have numerous benefits, particularly for your respiratory system and overall health. Negative ions, which are produced by air ionizers, have been detected at high levels in natural environments such as the ocean, waterfalls, and greenery. Some benefits of air ionizers include improved air quality, increased oxygen flow to the brain, reduced stress and anxiety, and better sleep quality.

  • Improved air quality – By removing dust, allergens, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other airborne bacteria.
  • Better physical health – Decreased exposure to respiratory bacteria such as colds, flu, and asthma triggers.
  • Better mental health – seasonal or chronic depression may be relieved through negative ion exposure, as suggested by a Columbia University study.
  • Improved sleep – In addition, negative ions have been found to have a positive effect on sleep and overall mood, as demonstrated by a 2012 Italian study.

The dangers of air ionizers

However, some people may question the validity of these claims. What are the potential downsides to using negative ion air ionizers? While naturally occurring negative ions are beneficial, those generated by electric-discharge air ionizers may produce ozone, a harmful and toxic gas. Ozone is a colorless gas that exists in both good and bad forms. In the stratosphere, ozone helps protect the Earth’s living beings from the sun’s radiation. However, at ground level, ozone can be harmful and may cause damage to the lungs, chest pain, coughing, or shortness of breath.

Do air ionizers emit ozone?

The answer is yes, they do emit little ozone byproducts. Any man-made high-energy particle, like negatively charged ions, can generate ozone as a by-product of the molecular reaction.

However, the Clean Air Act has set federally-mandated standards that put a limit on the amount of ozone that air ionizers can emit. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires indoor medical devices to produce a maximum of 50 ppb (parts per billion) of ozone. To put that in perspective, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (HIOSH) advises that indoor ozone levels should be no greater than 100 ppb.

Modern air ionizers are typically equipped with ozone sensors that monitor, suppress, and prevent high levels of ozone from escaping into the air you breathe.

In Conclusion

Choosing whether or not to use an air ionizer is a personal decision. While there are benefits to air ionization that may be difficult to achieve with a standard air purifier, there are also potential risks. Ozone can be a real threat to our health when consumed in high levels, but today's air ionizers are restricted in the amount of ozone they can produce as a by-product. Ultimately, you must decide for yourself and your family if the benefits of ionized air outweigh the potential risk of increased ozone levels. Do your research, understand the technology, and move forward into a home with cleaner air.





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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