Ah… the Sweet Smell of Ozone

Ya know, it should have dawned on me. I bought a Sharper Image over a year ago and was pretty happy with it. It’s very quiet, and cleaning it’s a snap. Just pull the blades out and wipe; they get covered with black goop so it’s obviously cleaning something. And I can put my nose up to it and smell the sweet air.

Except that “sweet” smell is ozone. It’s detectable by smell in small quantities, and Sharper Image says the ozone concentration is safe, but Consumer Reports points out the obvious: if you’re buying an air cleaner that outputs ozone, you’re wasting your money. In fact, the report says that some of these ionic purifiers are not any more effective than gravity at removing dust and pollen.

I was getting ready to buy another, too, but I’m putting that purchase on hold while I look into HEPA filters instead.

Other reviews at Book of Joe, Gizmodo, and Money CNN.

22 thoughts on “Ah… the Sweet Smell of Ozone

  1. I’ve had one for years and love it… I can’t believe all the stuff it removes out of my air… I don’t care if the ‘ozone’ part does anything at all, I know it’s good at what it does, and I don’t have to buy filters! 😀

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  2. You people are just falling victim to a media scare. The ionic breeze does put out very trace amounts of ozone. But so does the computer monitor that is in front of you, the refrigerator, the television, your hair dryer…etc.

    So, I guess you had better get rid of all of those things as well. Perhaps you should live in a cardboard box. Oh, no, not that either, you may get a cardboard cut…those hurt. So I guess a bubble is your only option.

    Wise up to the media. Scaring people sells a lot of papers, magazines and it does well on the nightly news as well.

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  3. I can tell you didn’t read the article, nor my comment on the article. The article says that the ozone emissions fall within EPA guidelines. Some were excessive and can cause some minor breathing difficulties. On top of all that, they were marginally efficient and paled next to a good HEPA filter. And aren’t you buying an air cleaner to clean the air?

    By the way, my name is Michael, not “you people.” I’m hardly a poster-child for consumer safety, having made 500 skydives in my life. If you can recommend a good bubble to live in though, I’d like to hear your recommendation because a round transparent room sounds kewl. My neighbors probably won’t like it.

    Before you criticize the criticism, I respectfully request that you to practice good reading skills and read the article and my commentary first.

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  4. Ozone was not the only concern (although the primary adverse health issue raised). CU also finally tested the effectiveness of the Ionic Breeze, touted by Sharper Image’s heafty advertising as a revolution in air cleaning systems. We now know why Sharper Image is NOT certified by AHAM (clean air delivery rate) and why, in all probability, Sharper Image has not voluntarily participated in the AHAM tests for concumers (see http://www.cadr.org).

    CU has revealed that Sharper Image misled the consumer on a grand scale and concealed potential harmful health implications of their product. I have an asthmatic friend who has placed the product right next to the headboard of his bed – thinking, of course, that he wants to be as close to the “clean” air as possible. Well in a closed bedroom environment, we now know that he may be exposing himself to greater levels of ozone than he ought to be.

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  5. As an ozone user I can tell you, without a doubt, that the bleach in your home has sent far more people to the hospital than any air cleaning device. I work in a major hospital and although we have traeted many people who have been sickened by home chemicals, I have never treated anyone injured by an air cleaning device (except the guy who had on fall on his foot), NEVER. In fact, in all the years I worked as a medic I have nerver treated anyone who complained of any side effects of using an air cleaning device. I will agree that large amounts of ozone are bad for you, but these machines, like the breeze, don’t produce enough ozone to even do what they claim, and negative ions have little use themselves.

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  6. 😯 I am looking for an aircleaner that does the things that Ionic Breeze says it does and decided to read comments from others before I make the purchase. My question is regarding the new Ionic Breeze Professional Series models which now is advertised by saying “Ionic Breeze cleans with OzoneGuard (Engelhard) PremAir catalyst concerts ozone to oxygen.” So I guess I am wondering if this new model is safer than the standard Original Series Quadra model? Since these models have come out recently I just wondered if they might be safer or what…

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  7. After I brought the Sharper Image Ionic breezes home and plugged them in every room, my husband commented on the smell but I did’nt smell the ozone. I developed a cough soon after and two weeks later a full-blown respiratory infection. Five weeks later I still had my cough and now my husband had one too. We put the clues together and arrived at this website. I definitely do not consider the Sharper Image’s ionic breeze to be safe. Thank you so much for bringing this out into the open.

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  8. I’ve had my Quadra(s) for about 3 years. My main complaint was the switches don’t last very long, but I was also disappointed in the odor. I somehow felt like that smell was harmful, however given the huge amounts of pollen it sucks out of the air in the spring, I find it useful during that season of severe allergies. Then I turn if off in mid June thru mid March. Sharper Image has a new product called Ionic Breeze with Ozoneguard, however running it in Yahoo search, it says it is not yet available. Cost $449.

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  9. If you place a fan in front of your TV it will actually filter more air than an ionic breeze. No really try it. Unless you use one of those anti-static sprays on you TV. I have 1 ionic breeze and 4 HEPA filters in my home. The HEPA filters make allot of noise I am working on a box with baffles to cut out some of the noise.

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  10. 🙄 I just bought one and I think it is fantastic. I was having severe coughing in the morning and told by a medical intuitive that I had an allergy to mold and to get an ionizer. She said after the rains when the sun comes out mold spores are released at dawn. I sleep with my windows open and we in northern Calif went through 41 straight days of rain and now its all sun, sun sun. The first morning I slept with the Ionic Breeze the coughing stopped. I chose the IB because it was quiet and on sale and friends said try sharper image. I have never seen any advertising regarding this product. I really had no concept about it. The one I bought does have an ozone guard so maybe they fixed the problem if indeed there ever was a problem. I love it!!! It really really works….I was astonished actually at how effective it is. I had no idea the cough was environmentally caused and a machine could fix it!!!

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  11. As a previous employee of The Sharper Image, I have learned much about the system and have heard few complaints. With the many stories I had listened to, I have heard far many more benefits to the Ionic Breeze, specifically the Germicidal Protection systems. For those of you who have any questions about the system, I would be glad to give you my input and answer what I can. For those who are skeptical, I advise that you purchase one and try it out. You’ll have 60 days to give it a shot and if it is not to your liking, you may return it. I feel that despite the horror stories the internet has to offer, you will be pleased with your system.

    frank

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  12. I keep coming back to the fact that tests have shown these machines do not clean the air effectively. Not only that, but they emit ozone, which can be harmful whether you feel it or not. So why would you want one in your house?

    I haven’t used the Ionic Breeze – but I did order another ionic air purifier for my car (to try to filter out all the exhaust fumes in traffic), before any of this came out. Every time I plugged it in, after about 15-20 minutes, I would start to cough and feel my lungs constricting and my throat irritated. I never imagined the device was causing that, so I tried it again 3-4 times, until I finally had to stop using it because my throat got irritated every time.

    I have Aerox model 45 air cleaners in my house. I think they have charcoal filters. It’s expensive to replace the filters every year or so, but they make the air sweet and clean without emitting ozone.

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  13. To the medic/hospital person, just because you haven’t seen ANY patients suffering from ozone related problems from Ionizer doesn’t mean they don’t happen. I would think these cases would be less acute than bleach poisoning and sometimes harder to find the source.

    I just bought one with OzoneGuard, but noticed the ozone smell right off the bat. I don’t know if it’s human instinct, but I also got the sense it was bad for me…even though I liked it…made think of a clean office building. It did help my allergies, though, but I don’t want to get a chronic disease 10 years from now. I’m undecided on whether to keep it.

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  14. I have two in the office and 5 at home. Every two
    weeks I wipe a ton of black stuff from the grids. Chemicals from the metal grid? Interesrting theory but they deny it. Quiet, Place a $19 fan to keep
    the air moving. I have asthma and no adverse reports. Two units started sounding noisy and they replaced and and did not charge a fee. Get ozine attachment!!! Friend has Orick too. Noisy. HEPA proobably the best but very expensive, Not for use with burning candles. Buy two. Send back if not satisfied. 50/50.
    Alex Gordon
    Easton MD 2007

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  15. you all are really gullible reminds me of how so called reports made margarine look better than butter, processed yellow yolk better than the whole egg itself, and etc. lol i like the one who said to put a fan in front of your tv. yeah buddy ozone also comes from tv, blow dryers, and etc. the ionic breeze is def. not a single cure so u definitely have to have good ventilation. otherwise u are breathing in old air. but wait u all should have other things to worry about like that cell phone in your pocket. u’ll get cancer sooner or later!!!! u kno why ppl dont decide to link cancer and cell phone..? cause there will be a massive uproar by consumers. For all those health geeks out there, if u really want to be healthy, then get rid of all your electric appliances b/c they emitt traces of ozone also. But wait !!! does ozone really last that long in the air???? i mean its O3, and its very unstable…. wouldn’t it form more O2 or cling to things instead of going into your body as ozone??? hmm i dunno someone go do research projects for this . all i kno is i wanna get one. consumer reports sounds like a bogus organization to me, like the lobbyists in washington

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  16. seriously doesn’t anyone think anymore?>? you hear a bad side of a product and u get in a misfit., Dont you know that ozone is emitted by laser printers too as well as other appliances?

    why arent the pollution from cars, trucks, and airplanes far more worst??

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  17. Not bragging, but I taught electronics at SCC for over 25 years. We hat alot of ozone in our labs and many discussions about this. We never had any obvious problems with the ozone, and knew that our computer labs never noticed a ozone problem. I do own 2 ionic breeze air cleaners, and I am thankful for that garbage I clean off the grids is not floating around my bedroom. I guess there are alot of unsafe devices around us (I agree about the cellphone, probably our worst convienence device ever), but here again time will tell, and do you notice that the majority of the internet articles condeming the Ionic Breeze sell air cleaners? I wouldn’t expect them to say positive remarks. thanks Jim for the article!

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  18. I agree with Larry and others. I have not seen any real harmful stories from O Zone. I have had 2 for several years now and I have extremely bad asthma. I have never gotten sick from these devices. They do work very well. That Ozone and negative Ions everyone is talking about is why it works so well. The O3 bonds with the dust and other pollutants in the air and makes them fall to the ground or stick to other hard surfaces. That is why it works so well it does not really remove that much from the air on its collection plates. Here are two facts one personal and one public I will leave you with. My personal fact is that without my ionic breeze in the basement it stinks of mold in about two days. With it no mold at all. The public fact that I find interesting is what professionals use to clean the air. Call a real professional cleaning and restoration company. Call a fire restoration company. After a disaster or fire they all use industrial ionizers to clean the air in an area. These have no collection plates and no filters. Just a big fan with a special Ozone generator. So why do they do that? How does that work if Ozone can’t clean the air? Thanks to all for this discussion. If SCC Means SCCC Suffolk County Community College, listen to that man, SCCC is second to none in higher learning institutions.

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  19. Read this article by the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/30/AR2005093002011.html

    YOU SHOULD NOT PUT YOUR FACE RIGHT UP TO THE UNIT AND SMELLING IT, WAY LOWER AND SAFE OZONE LEVELS ARE 2 TO 4 INCHS AWAY OTHERWISE YOU COULD GET A SORE THROAT.
    Ionic Breeze with ozone guard passes both open and sealed room test, and ionic breeze without ozone guard passes open room test but fails sealed room test for safe ozone levels. Ionic Breeze cleans the air just fine however it only gets a failing grade for it’s inability to clean air fast enough compared to motor driven cleaners. The Ionic Breeze works perfectly fine for my home and I will continue using it knowing these facts.

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