Air Ionizers Worse Than Diesel Exhaust

A wild study found that air supposedly “purified” with ionizers was actually worse than raw diesel exhaust. Believe it or not, the researchers found participants to inhale diesel exhaust in a laboratory.

Study: Ionized Air Worse Than Raw Diesel Fuel

Researchers from the University of British Columbia had participants sit in a small room and breathe diesel exhaust for two hours. During one session, they inhaled raw diesel exhaust.

Ionizers worse than diesel exhaust

This exhaust contains carbon monoxide, tiny particles, nitric oxide, and numerous other harmful air pollutants.

Pollution from diesel fuel

During another session, the researchers ran the diesel exhaust through an ionizer. This is a product that people purchase and use in their homes. It could already be installed in the central air system of your office or school.

Are ionizers harmful?

An ionizer works by charging incoming particles with negative electricity. This charge causes those particles to stick to the metal plates in the machine, which are positively charged.

How ionizers work

Sounds good, right? Pollution particles stick to the plates, just like static electricity can make a balloon stick to a wall (or to your hair).

How ionizers work

Ionizers Produce Pollution

Contrary to expectations, the ionizer actually generated more NO2, producing four times as much.

Ionizers increase NO2

This Is What Happens When You Use an Ionizer

Numerous studies have examined the effects of ionizers on air quality. For instance, one study discovered that ionizers can generate formaldehyde. It’s relatively easy to measure air pollutants. However, it’s much more difficult to get individuals to participate in lab studies where they must inhale air pollution and have their blood analyzed.

That’s why this research is so exceptional. These courageous participants first agreed to inhale diesel exhaust and then allowed researchers to analyze their blood.

Ionizers increase inflammation

Eosinophils” are what they’re known as. They are white blood cells that the body uses to fight infections. They’re indicators of inflammation, and people with more of these inflammatory cells in their blood generally die younger.

After inhaling that ionized air, the participants had more of these inflammation markers.

HEPA filters vs. ionizers

And this was in comparison to individuals who breathed raw diesel exhaust. The ionized air was worse than diesel exhaust. Incredible!

To provide some sanity, the researchers also examined a much less interesting technology: regular old HEPA filters. These are just a bunch of fibers that were created 80 years ago.

HEPA filters vs. ionizers

HEPA filters remove PM2.5 particles but do not impact gases. They’re like ionizers but without any side effects.

Breathing through HEPA filters resulted in a smaller inflammatory reaction than breathing in raw diesel.

HEPA filters vs ionizers

Ionizers are harmful

This research discovered that ionizers can boost NO2 air pollution and cause greater inflammation.

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