Thousands of allergy sufferers have fallen for the great air cleaner scam. It's hard to believe that an air cleaner would actually pollute the air, but some of the most popular models do just that.
The EcoQuest air cleaner, for instance, is supported by outlandish marketing claims such as "Fresh Air by EcoQuest is the safest, most sought after air purifier in the world." But this air cleaner is not safe, especially for people with allergies or asthma. EcoQuest air cleaners emit large amounts of ozone, a lung irritant that can trigger asthma attacks.
In fact, if you look in the instruction manual, you'll see that it warns users to make sure that the room is unoccupied before "sanitizing" with ozone. The manual also suggests airing out the room before going back into it.
Why, then, is this ionic air cleaner so popular? It's because of deceptive marketing claims made as part of a pyramid scheme. People continue to fall for the scam, but once they start using the air cleaner at home, they realize they've been had.
Just look at these three consumer comments from epinions.com:
After running the unit for 2 days, my son was having to use his inhaler, and my daughter had to use her inhaler after 3 days. They were both having the early symptoms of an asthma attack. By the third day, I also had some chest pain, and I don't have respiratory problems. My son could not quit coughing after we had the machine in our house for 3 days. When we were out of the house, he was fine. I don't know which is worse, my kids having asthma attacks because of secondhand smoke or my kids having asthma attacks because of the (Ecoquest) Fresh Air."
Unbelievable! But that's not all. Other popular air cleaners are just as bad.
Sharper Image, currently in bankruptcy, settled a class-action lawsuit in 2007 for $60 million after they misled customers about the effectiveness of their Ionic Breeze air cleaner. The Ionic Breeze also emits ozone and is not recommended for allergy sufferers.
And then there's the Oreck XL air cleaner from the infomercials. Oninfomercialscams.com, one consumer writes:
I purchased two of the Oreck XL Professional Air Purifiers after the TV ad. I made the mistake of trusting David Oreck and his ad I'm trying to get a refund and trying to get them to stop taking money out of my bank account. I'll NEVER buy another product that has the name Oreck on it.
A true HEPA filter is vastly superior to the Oreck air cleaner. As the collection plates on the Oreck XL become full, the air cleaner loses efficiency, and the plates must be emptied. HEPA filters, on the other hand, need to be replaced only once every five years, and they're guaranteed to capture 99.97% of household allergens. Unlike the Oreck air cleaner, HEPA air purifiers do not emit ozone.
As a rule of thumb, if a manufacturer uses the word "ionic" to describe an air cleaner, then it most likely emits ozone. Also be wary of "electronic" air cleaners, as they may emit ozone. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, trust HEPA air purifiers to safely and effectively remove allergens from your home.