Are Ionizers Safe for Lungs? A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to air purification, many people are familiar with the infamous Sharper Image Ionic Breeze, an ionizing air purifier with an electrostatic precipitator that, according to Consumer Reports, produced high levels of ozone. Ozone is a dangerous by-product that can cause harm to the health of those exposed, such as chest pain, cough, shortness of breath and throat irritation. But are ionizers safe for lungs?The answer is not a simple yes or no. While ozone can be harmful when inhaled in sufficiently high doses, most UV cleaners don't contain ozone and don't damage the lungs.

Air purifiers pass air through filters and out through ventilation grilles, creating air circulation in a room. Hospital UV lights are effective at killing particles by reducing or eliminating airflow. An ionizer uses an electromagnetic charge to add or remove electrons from oxygen atoms, causing oxygen particles to be positively or negatively charged when they leave the ionizer. In their 6-month study, the authors found no statistically significant difference in PEFR between active ionization environments and environments with placebo or without ionizer.

Ionizer air purifiers are generally safe because ionizers are not energized enough to be harmful to you.However, a recent study of air ionizers in school classrooms reduced particle concentrations and led to some improvements in respiratory health among children 11 to 14 years old, but had an adverse effect on heart rate variability (a measure of cardiovascular health). This means that any benefit to the lungs had a cost to the heart.Since the conflicting data associated with the ionizer remains persistent, it is best to keep your ionizer option turned off. However, if you need to get rid of second and third hand smoking from your roommate, you can turn on your ionizer for 30-40 minutes when no one is in the room and then turn it off before anyone comes in.As more information is disseminated and presented to the public about the dangers of air ionizers, consumers will be more informed before purchasing an air purifier and they are likely to be aware of and avoid these potentially hazardous ionizing air systems.In conclusion, while ionizers are generally safe for lungs, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with them. If you decide to use an ionizer, make sure you turn it off when no one is in the room and keep it on for no more than 30-40 minutes at a time.

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