Social Links

Follow on Facebook Follow on TwitterFollow EiR on PinterestFollow EiR on Instagram

Xpert Access


Login To Get Involved!

Forgot your username?

Forgot your password?


Join Us At EiR Now!

DNRS Roof Banner


New DNRS 2.0 Available NOW! Improved via Research & Patient Feedback.

Universal AJAX Live Search

Search - Categories
Search - Contacts
Search - Content
Search - Newsfeeds
Search - Weblinks

Ion Generators on Air Filters Bad for Health Say Scientists





MCS America

Lourdes Salvador's Column

...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.








Lourdes Salvador is the founder of MCS America, a science writer, and a social advocate for the greater awareness of environmental contamination, human toxicology, and propagation of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) as a disorder of organic biological origin induced by toxic environmental insults.

For more information visit MCS America




Monday, January 24th, 2011:


Ion Generators on Air Filters Bad for Health Say Scientists

by Lourdes Salvador



If you´re like most people, your air filter has an ionizer included. The ionizer is supposed to help freshen the air. New research, however, shows that ion generators have the potential to actually decrease air quality and add to air pollution.

Ion generators negatively charge particles. Negatively charged particles are often found outdoors and have been associated with fresh air. Thus, many air purifiers include an ionizer button.

But these ionizers also emit ozone, which degrades air quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued the following warning about the health effects of ozone.

"The same chemical properties that allow high concentrations of ozone to react with organic material outside the body give it the ability to react with similar organic material that makes up the body, and potentially cause harmful health consequences. When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs (see - "Ozone and Your Health" - Relatively low amounts can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and, throat irritation. Ozone may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections. People vary widely in their susceptibility to ozone. Healthy people, as well as those with respiratory difficulty, can experience breathing problems when exposed to ozone. Exercise during exposure to ozone causes a greater amount of ozone to be inhaled, and increases the risk of harmful respiratory effects. Recovery from the harmful effects can occur following short-term exposure to low levels of ozone, but health effects may become more damaging and recovery less certain at higher levels or from longer exposures (US EPA, 1996a, 1996b)."

Another concern about ozone is that it can easily react with hydrocarbons known as terpenes found in the air to produce secondary organic aerosol, carbonyls, carboxylic acids, and free radicals. Terpenes are commonly found in cleaning solvents and plug-in air fresheners. Therefore, the home environment is an ideal place for ozone to react with terpenes. When ozone reacts with terpenes, ultra fine particle concentration increases. Ultra-fine particles have been associated with asthma and respiratory disorders.


There is also the potential for ion generators to increase aldehyde concentration in the air. Aldehydes come in many forms, the most common is formaldehyde. The EPA says:

"Exposures to formaldehyde, acrolein, and other aldehydes occur at work, in homes, and outdoors. Inhalation of high doses of formaldehyde has produced nasal tumors in laboratory rats, and lower concentrations have irritated eyes and air passages in humans.

At concentrations exceeding usual outdoor levels, aldehyde inhalation can alter breathing patterns by narrowing airway openings (airway constriction). It can also damage cells lining the airways, prompting white blood cells to enter the lungs."

Since the ionizer button is optional, air filter users can opt to leave it turned off. Better made air purifiers, such as medical grade purifiers with triple filtration (pre filter, true HEPA filter, and a carbon filter) generally do not include an ionizer.

Other protective measures include removal and disposal of all air freshening and scenting devices. These products are laden with chemicals that have adverse health effects. They don´t freshen the air; they only add scent to it. If the air is stale, cleaning and improving ventilation by opening windows and keeping air circulating will not only freshen the air, but improve overall health.


Waring MS, Siegel JA. The effect of an ion generator on indoor air quality in a residential room. Indoor Air. 2010 Oct 20. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2010.00696.x. [Epub ahead of print] 



For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.


Copyrighted 2011 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America



Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Forums




Please Help Support EiR with a Positive Google Review!

Review 'The Environmental Illness Resource' (EiR) on Google


If you like EiR and / or enoyed this content; please help us keep going by leaving a Positive Google Review:
Review EiR on Google NOW!

P.S. This is entirely secure, we collect no data other than what is freely available from Google and you can remain anonymous!


Related Articles:


Mold Testing & Sanitizer:







People in this conversation

  • Guest - Cold N. Holefield

    I must admit, I'm a former fan of air fresheners. From the scented plug ins to the bathroom sprays I would use to mask my odors, I never connected them to the headaches I would get. Once I pulled them all from my home, headache days went down, and mental strength, clarity, and rationality improved. I am not surprised to hear of the findings of tumors in lab rats. It is amazing the chemicals we put into our bodies on a daily basis without knowing it, isn't it? I did not have a problem getting rid of scented products around the house, but was concerned about bad bathroom odors. My solution was installing a small fan that circulates and sucks in the air. It's controled by a panel, so the two times a day I use the bathroom I switch it on 2 minutes before, and it works very effectively. The world needs to be more informed about the harm pretty scented things can cause. Good to see solid lab work and great writing combined into an informative piece.
    - Cold N. Holefield

  • Hi Brandy,

    The Austin Air series seem to be a good bet. They have features such as zeolite to pull volatile chemicals out of the air and their construction is even designed to reduce off-gassing e.g. special baked on paint is used which does not off-gas.

    Take a look at Austin Air HealthMate Room Air Purifier

    I have to say I never found air purifiers helpful when my MCS was at its worst. I had to rely on my carbon filter face mask. I hope you have more success with them. Take care.

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0 Character restriction
Your text should be more than 25 characters
Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.
terms and condition.

Adsense Responsive BottomBanner

View the very BEST Environmental Illness Videos!

1. Your Health is Governed by Your Environment | Prof. BM Hegde | TEDx Talk

2. Demystifying Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

3. Social Determinants of Health - An Introduction