$400 Sharper Image Ionizing Air Filter - Potentially Damaging to Respiratory System

Discussion in 'Health and Lifestyle' started by -Cp, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    Into Thick Air
    Some Air Cleaners, Says Consumers Union, Produce a Sweet Fresh Smell -- Of Damaging Ozone. But Product Makers Insist Buyers Can Breathe Easy

    By January W. Payne
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, April 12, 2005; Page HE01

    Growing numbers of people with allergies and asthma are coughing up hefty sums for heavily marketed indoor air cleaners they hope will provide purer air to breathe.

    But a study in the May issue of Consumer Reports describes some of these devices as not just ineffective but capable of exposing people to ozone -- a gas that, in large enough quantities, can damage the lungs, irritate the respiratory system and aggravate asthma, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    Sharper Image, whose Ionic Breeze cleaner ($400) drew particular criticism in the report, disputed the findings, saying its product is "safe" and produces only "trace levels of ozone as a byproduct," according to a printed statement to which the company referred news media. Other manufacturers whose products did poorly in the report also found fault with the study methods and the findings.

    The devices, known as ionizing air cleaners or electrostatic precipitators, work by electrically charging airborne particles and trapping them on oppositely charged metal plates, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). Ozone, a super-charged oxygen molecule, is a byproduct of this process. In contrast, says the association, the most common type of air purifier includes a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which traps most particles and removes odors while producing much lower amounts of ozone.

    The findings are particularly worrisome because about 80 percent of people who buy air cleaners have asthma or allergies, according to the magazine. Air ionizers make up about 25 percent of the $410 million-a-year air cleaner market, according to the report, which was issued by the nonprofit Consumers Union (CU), publisher of Consumer Reports books and magazines. The report marks CU's second criticism in two years of the Ionic Breeze ($400), which leads the ionizer market. Once again, the product earned "poor" ratings from CU for cleaning dust and smoke from the air; the new report also found the device poor at removing pollen.

    Sharper Image sued CU for libel after an October 2003 report said that the Ionic Breeze performed poorly at removing dust and smoke particles from the air; a federal court dismissed the suit.

    The more than 1 million Ionic Breeze units sold testify to the machine's effectiveness, said E. Robert (Bob) Wallach, legal counsel for Sharper Image.

    Ionizers, advertised in TV commercials, infomercials and magazines, are typically sleek and slender and have quieter motors than other types of portable air cleaners. And there are many potential buyers: 18.2 million adults had hay fever in 2002, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and about 21.9 million had asthma.

    Jeff Asher, vice president and technical director at CU, said air ionizers give off a deceptively "fresh air" smell, similar to the scent just after a thunderstorm. Buyers, he said, "think that this is a good smell . . . that in fact, without that smell, that the ionizer isn't cleaning the air." But what they smell, Asher said, is actually ozone.

    Richard Thalheimer, founder, chairman and CEO of Sharper Image, issued a sharply worded statement disputing the findings. "This Consumer Reports piece is, in my view, irresponsible in the way it casually and unscientifically speculates about public health and safety," the statement read. Calling the report "an unfair assault by Consumers Union," it stated that the Ionic Breeze was no different than many common household electronic devices, such as TVs and hair dryers, in producing "trace levels of ozone as a byproduct."

    Read the next page at:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45313-2005Apr11_2.html



    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45313-2005Apr11.html
     
  2. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    couple of things i have had these for years....no adverse effect

    second, i thought everyone was worried that the lose of ozone / hole in the ozone was bad and would kill us.....so we have a machine that makes ozone and now that is bad and will kill us?!

    eggs are bad...no wait eggs are good

    wine is bad....no wait wine is good

    no carbs....no wait you need carbs.....

    :bang3:
     
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  3. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    Exactly. How can you believe media chicken littles? You'll get the exact opposite a year later. Coffee, oatmeal, beer, breastmilk, same thing.

    I think the ionizer is a modern snake-oil device. It probably won't hurt you, but probably does about as much good as muttering incantations to the air god.
     
  4. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Cure the smog-o-phobes before they blow all their money on trying to stay alive forever !!!!!
     
  5. deaddude
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    deaddude Senior Member

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    Yes a hole in the ozone layer is bad, and yes breathing in ozone is bad. Having an ozone layer blocks a bunch of solar radiationm, preventing you from getting cancer or suffering from radiation poisoning. This ozone layer is miles above earths surface and so you do not normaly breath it in.

    As for eggs wine and carbs, most of them are a mixed bag, each with some benefits and drawbacks.
     
  6. Yurt
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    Yurt Gold Member

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    I really think the ionizers alone are pretty close to snake oil. However, I have a purifier (forgot to add: with a hepa filter and fan that I can hear and pretty much feel sucking the air in and through) with an ionizer and trust me, it works. we both sleep much better at night and she tells me I don't snore as much.

    I for one though breath easier.

    And for the record, I never snore... :eek:
     
  7. Working Man
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    Working Man Member

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    First. Sharper Image is a scumbag company.. They sued Consumer Reports magazine and lost.. CS said the cleaners were ineffective..

    I purchased two before finding out about the report.. Seems like CS has been sleeping at the wheel too... The units have been on the market for years, but only recently did a report on hepa filters, etc...

    Do they work??? Yes.. at least they remove stuff from the air. Also,, if you have pantry moths around, these units will zap them too!!

    Are they effective?? I would hope.. That black snot inside has to be coming from someplace.. If I can collect it and then dispose of it,, there must be less for me to breath in.. That can only be a good thing.. I also use some Honeywell hepa filters.. Noise is high, media is expensive... But, the noise makes me sleep better. :))

    Ozone generating?? Not good, but when you play with high voltage you get this stuff. It will make your condoms leak.. :-((
     

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