Ion generators are often used to clean the air, but do they really work? While they can remove small particles, such as VOCs, they are not effective in reducing VOCs in the air. Ionizers produce ozone, which can cause health problems. Air purifiers and ionizers both clean the air by eliminating allergens and contaminants, but they do so in different ways. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ionizing air purifiers are better at charging small particles than larger ones.
This can be a problem since people often have particles of various sizes that pollute their indoor air. In addition, ionizers produce small amounts of ozone, which irritates the lungs and is harmful to the environment. While some people with respiratory conditions may see their conditions improve with the use of an ionic air purifier, others may develop additional respiratory problems. Air ionizers do not eliminate odors from the indoor air either; they simply deactivate some air contaminants that can be reintroduced back into the air if not removed.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been installing ionizers in offices and restaurants. It can be confusing to determine if an ionizing air purifier is better for your needs or if another type of air purifier would be better. Air purifiers trap airborne contaminants of all shapes and sizes and completely remove them from your home, while ionizers make particles heavy enough to fall to the floor. The only study we have found in which combined air purifier and ionizer devices were examined shows an increase in cardiovascular risk related only to the ionizer.
Ozone and other toxic gases are produced as a by-product during the normal operation of an air ionizer, which are harmful to humans and pets. Air ionizers exploit the chemical properties of ions to remove particles and microbes from the air, but they don't trap anything. The EPA states that there is no standard way to measure the effectiveness of an ionizing air purifier since it doesn't capture or collect particles like mechanical air filters do. Weighing the positive impact that an ionizer can have on the level of particles in the air with any harm it may cause to health by producing ozone is important when considering using one.
Ionizers produce electrically charged particles that attract and adhere to medium-sized air contaminants, such as some bacteria, dust and mold.