Ozone Ionizer Air Purifier Dangers



Q: How is an ozone ionizer air purifier different from an "ionizer purifier"? They are two very different things. I understand there is a lot of confusion amongst consumers about this, and in this article you'll be learning the difference, and where the controversy started.

Ozone - This is a very unstable substance, which makes it good for cleaning smoke and odors from the air. However it is nothing more than oxygen which is O2 with an added molecule making it O3. So oxygen is 02, while Ozone is O3. Simple right? It's that extra molecule, created by an electrical process, that can go out into the air and because it has a weak hold on the other 2 molecules it will attach itself and kill things like odors and mold spores.


Brand names like Ecoquest, Alpine and Vollara (which are all different versions of the same company) use Ozone primarily to clean the air. The ozone goes out into the room to clean. These units deliver higher amounts of Ozone.

The danger is that ozone, with the benefit in cleaning the air, is harmful in high amounts because that unstable molecule can attach itself to lung tissue and cause irritation. Many air purifiers cannot be sold in California for this reason (which became more strict in 2011). Make sure the model you are looking for has the California Seal to be safe.

Ozone Air Purifier Video


Ionizer - Another way to clean the air (used by popular models like Oreck) uses little washable plates or grids which are electrically charged with positive and negative electricity. This is called an "Ionizer" because it counts on positive and negative "ions". Like a magnet the plates attract their opposite. Since so many pollutants are positively charged the negative plates make a perfect place for them to attach themselves. Then you simnply wash off the plates or grids. Not very good for dust or pollen they do remove odor and smoke fairly well.

Ionizer Video Explanation


This is where things get interesting. Some "Ionizers", and other air purifiers that use these electrically charged plates or grids, create ozone. So whereas the plates were meant to carry a charge to act like a magnet, the plates were turning some oxygen into Ozone. The famous model for this was the "ionic Breeze" Air Purifier. It was taken off the market (and sharper image crashed and burned because of it) because of high levels of ozone production.

In general the "plate type" of air purifiers (especially those with big plates like the Oreck or the Friedrich") are truly ozone ionizer air purifiers - they create secondary ozone, although their primary use is the washable plate benefit. The "grid style ( with holes in the washable plates) tends to create little or no ozone. Small ionizers (like the plug in the cigarette lighter negative ionizers) do not tend to produce ozone.


Ozone, if used properly can be a good thing. I have an ozone generator myself, and I use to for:

1) Treating a room with a moldy smell or chemicals. i turn it on and leave the room until the ozone dissipates (3-4 hours sometimes)

2) Mold. Nothing works better at killing mold than Ozone. Hepa may catch mold spores, but they don't kill mold.


So you can now see that an ozone ionizer air purifier is different from an ozone generating air purifier. The first may create some ozone, but is more geared toward attracting dirt, odor and pollutants onto it's charged plates. An Ozone air purifier doesn't have plates or grids, but simply produces ozone which goes out into the room and destroys odors, smoke and pollutants in the room.

Here's my suggestion: Unless mold or smoke are your specific problem find an Air Purifier that uses little or no ozone, and that includes an affordable HEPA filter - because HEPA is the best for pollen, dust and allergen removal. if you want ozone for killing mold or occassional odor problems get one with on/off ozone like the one below.

Ozone Ionizer Air Purifier Comparisons

An Ozone Machine with HEPA and On/off Ozone for $139.00

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Airpodcleaner MT3C - $139 - 6 Stage Air Purifier

The affordable, yet powerful Airpodcleaner MT3C is a 6-stage air purifier which includes HEPA, On/Off Ozone, Negative Ion for mold killing plus its very effective against pollen, dust, odor with Carbon and a pre-filter. It also includes UV light for viruses and germs. It will cover 500 square feet.

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