Ionic Air Purifiers may actually Increase Particle Concentrations

Take that, Sharper Image, your air purifiers that you waste tons of paper sending me monthly catalogs for don’t work. The ones that use ozone react with organic compounds in the air, especially your fragrances in cleaning products, air fresheners and perfumes to make fine particles in that crucial 0.1-1 um size range that your lungs don’t clear very effectively.

Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, especially with other indoor pollutants. But I always thought these air purifiers were a scam, I am glad somebody actually got the NSF to fund this study and get some proof!

Kinetic Analysis of Competition between Aerosol Particle Removal and Generation by Ionization Air Purifiers

Kinetic Analysis of Competition between Aerosol Particle Removal and Generation by Ionization Air Purifiers

Ahmad Alshawa, Ashley R. Russell, and Sergey A. Nizkorodov*

Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, California 92697-2025

Abstract:

Ionization air purifiers are increasingly used to remove aerosol particles from indoor air. However, certain ionization air purifiers also emit ozone. Reactions between the emitted ozone and unsaturated volatile organic compounds (VOC) commonly found in indoor air produce additional respirable aerosol particles in the ultrafine (This model predicts that certain widely used ionization air purifiers may actually increase the mass concentration of fine and ultrafine particulates in the presence of common unsaturated VOC, such as limonene contained in many household cleaning products. This prediction is supported by an explicit observation of ultrafine particle nucleation events caused by the addition of D-limonene to a ventilated office room equipped with a common ionization air purifier.

7 comments for “Ionic Air Purifiers may actually Increase Particle Concentrations

  1. June 19, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    We seem to live in a world of dangers, and truthfully I’m not sure that we can ever truly eliminate most of them – or at least, when we do, we usually wind up creating a new one. There’s something about environmental theories and perhaps chaos theory. Everything seems to be interdependent, and so what we get when we seem to “advance” technologically is not truly “advancement” but rather simple “change.” We buy cell phones, in part so that we will be safer – if our car breaks down on the freeway, we aren’t completely isolated from the world. Then we hear that they cause accidents, and, perhaps even scarier, long term exposure to the speaker has been shown to cause tumors. We build a machine to make the air cleaner and it winds up creating dangerous particles that are too small for it to filter. We kill a deadly virus, but this causes viruses to mutate and become far more resistant. Are there any real “solutions”?

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