How do Air Ionizers Work?
An air ionizer is an electrical device that emits positive and/or negative charges into the air. The majority of air purifierswith an ionizer create negative ions and that means they have a negative electrical charge. The air purifierswith filter-less plates have a series of negatively charged plates and neutral or positively charged plates to attract the negatively charged particles.
Air Ionizer Concerns
Used alone, negative ionizers are not very effective in removing particles from the air. A HEPA air purifier with ionization generally has a negative ionizer rod that produces a small number of negative ions. The more powerful plate type (filter-less) ionizers can produce elevated ozone levels which has been shown to be harmful to your respiratory system. The FDA standard states that devices should not emit ozone in excess of 0.05 ppm (parts per million). All electronic devices emit some level of ozone. The Alen air purifiershave been independently tested to the UL standard and found to produce a max level of 0.004 ppm which is 92% below the acceptable threshold.
Air Ionizer Benefits
A report from Cedars-Sinai shows that some pollen and dust particles have a positive charge and "negative ions generally lead to favorable effects, and many individuals experience relief from their respiratory allergies." In a study by the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, they found that computer CRT monitors create a surplus of positive ions and the addition of negative ions resulted in a reduction of headaches from the test subjects.
Bottom line: Air ionizers can be beneficial but the benefits vary by person. It is important to ensure that an air purifier with an ionizer does not contribute unsafe levels of ozone as the side effects can be worse than the benefits.
Recommendations: Only use a system if you can turn the air ionizer on/off to see if it benefits you. Check to see the amount of ozone that is generated – the lower the better.