California Cites Health Risks in Landmark Ban of Ozone Air Purifiers
The California Air Resources Board on Thursday banned in-home ozone air purifiers, citing studies that have linked ozone exposure to asthma and other respiratory illnesses, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Under the regulation, dubbed a "landmark decision" by the board's chair, all types of air purifiers will require testing and certification. Any devices that emit more than a small amount of ozone will be banned statewide.
The board said the ban is the first of its kind in the nation.
About 2% of households in California have an ozone air purifier, according to the board, which estimated that the devices have exposed more than 500,000 individuals to levels of ozone above federally recognized health standards.
Allen Johnston of EcoQuest, a purifier manufacturer, said, "Ozone is both safe and effective, and widely endorsed by safety organizations."
However, Michael Kleinman, a UC-Irvine inhalation toxicologist, argued that ozone "is a toxic contaminant and does cause significant adverse health impacts."
Bonnie Holmes-Gen of the American Lung Association noted that there are "thousands of peer-review studies showing ozone is dangerous" and linking ozone exposure to increased rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, permanent lung damage and other health problems.
The regulation takes effect in 2009 and exempts industrial and commercial uses of ozone generators, as long as people are not present.
Violators of the ban could be subject to fines starting at $1,000 per day (Wilson, Los Angeles Times, 9/28).