Someone asked us about the safety of the Csonka Air Purifiers which have been legally sold all around the world for over 20 years and have never received had any complaints, but only positive testimonials. So we've put together this brief guide based on scientific data from one of the world's largest and most respected labs on these issues. Here's what they had to say:
Princeton Analytical Laboratory is accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association for industrial hygiene and air analyses and as the successor to Princeton Testing Laboratory has over 20 years of air testing experience. We have performed air testing for ozone specifically on numerous occasions and have experience with testing the ozone output on various devices. Based on existing data, ozone is an allotrope of oxygen, which is derived or formed naturally from diatomic oxygen by electric discharge. As an oxidizing agent, ozone has been used to purify and deodorize both air and water.
On May 12, 1997, we received from Csonka Cigar Requisites, Inc. (CCRI) an air purification device which CCRI refers to as the Csonka Smoker Cloaker™. We were requested to perform air sampling and analysis for ozone. The air testing was performed on May 21 and 22 using the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analytical method for ozone in air, NIOSH P&CAM 154. This method involves the sampling of air through an impinger containing solution that traps ozone out of the air when the air is drawn through the impinger. This solution is then analyzed spectrophotometrically for ozone. The samples were taken under various conditions, all with the Csonka Smoker Cloaker™ set on "High". Samples were taken at different distances from the device in the open air, from 3 feet from the device to 1 inch away. Ozone levels were not detected in these sampling events most likely due to the ozone's rapid dissipation into the air.
A "worst case scenario" was also sampled, where the sampling device and the Csonka Smoker Cloaker™ were enclosed in a 3.5 cubic foot cubicle. The purpose of this was to try to determine how high the ozone levels might likely be in a very small space. The result for this test was 0.027 mg/m3 which is 0.014 ppm. This result is well below the OSHA standard for ozone of 0.1 ppm. All our tests were conducted with the device on the "High" setting. Because the "Low" setting causes the device to generate ozone for less time, we presume that ozone levels at this setting would be even lower. We conclude that the ozone levels generated by the Csonka Smoker Cloaker™ were well below the levels considered safe by OSHA. As such, it produced safe amounts of ozone.
The Csonka Smoker Cloaker™ is spherical with a flat base and roughly 4" in diameter. The unit tested was supplied with both a 12 volt vehicle cigarette lighter power cord, a 110 volt U.L. listed electrical transformer, rubber feet and velcro adhesive pads. As such, and based on it's size and design, it is both surface and wall mountable, and offers flexibility as to where it may be located and utilized. Given ozone's ability to reduce the level of airborne contaminants such as smoke, dust, bacteria, pollen, mold spores, pet dander and other pollutants, the Csonka Smoker Cloaker™ may be used for odor control and air purification.
Very truly yours, Jane E. Dennison, Ph.D., CIH Laboratory Director June 4, 1997.
Furthermore we'd like to draw your attention to the following FAQ about Ozone products:
What Exactly is Ozone? Technically, ozone is an allotrope of oxygen, derived or formed naturally from diatomic oxygen by electric discharge, exiting as an oxidizing agent. In everyday terms, ozone is a more active oxygen, made of three atoms of oxygen, converted from regular two-atom oxygen using electricity. It has the ability to sanitize air and water, and eliminate odors.
How is Ozone Produced Naturally? Mother Nature produces ozone naturally with sunshine and lightning. Ozone is created when an electrical charge passes through oxygen, or O2, which is strong enough to break the bond between their two atoms. When one of the two separated atoms of oxygen regroups with O2, it temporarily creates O3, which is ozone.
How Would Someone Notice Ozone? Ozone has a slight, fresh scent. Some characterize it as a light, sweet, natural mineral fragrance. For example, you might notice ozone in the air after a thunderstorm. How Long Does Ozone Last? How long ozone lasts is a function of three things: (1) the strength of the temporary bond that produced it, (2) the relative amount of airflow, and (3) the impurities in the air encountered. Typically, ozone will dissipate very quickly. Within a matter of seconds to minutes, ozone will revert back to pure oxygen.
What Happens to Ozone? When ozone collides with a contaminant in the air, the extra oxygen atom that was added splits off from the ozone molecule and attaches itself to the contaminant. The contaminant is then oxidized, or burned up, and destroyed along with the extra oxygen atom. Through the process of reacting with most air pollutants, ozone converts harmful substances into more harmless compounds such as carbon dioxide and water vapor. What remains is pure breathable oxygen.
Is Ozone That's Produced Safe? Natural ozone, produced as it has been since the beginning of time, is completely safe. Furthermore, ground level ozone is absolutely essential to life. Many scientists and doctors now believe that much of the world's health problems are caused by a lack of oxygen. Healthy bodies cells are "aerobic", which means they need oxygen to survive. Unhealthy cells, such as bacteria and viruses, are "anaerobic", which means they can survive in the absence of oxygen. Ozone, which is found in the air virtually everywhere on earth including forests, meadows, over the ocean and up in the mountaintops, is responsible for purifying water and air that we breathe.
How has Natural Ozone Been Used? Ozone has been used to purify and deodorize both air and water for as long as our Earth has existed. Without natural amounts of ozone in the outdoor air we breathe, every living thing on earth would likely die from chemical and/or biological pollution. Ozone will enhance the overall air quality in the area where it exists, and tend to rejuvenate, or freshen, the air that we breathe.
What Are the Benefits of Replacing Ozone Indoors? First and foremost, ozone will sanitize the air and eliminate odors. Reports from a manufacturer note effectiveness in eliminating pollution from tobacco smoke and even second hand smoke. Second hand smoke is one of the most difficult indoor pollutants to eliminate because it consists of thousands of chemical gases and microscopic particle that can trigger allergy and asthma attacks. Beyond this, and based on unsolicited testimonials received every day, people report many other significant benefits, including elimination of the most difficult odors from chemicals, mold and mildew. In addition, many people report the fact that houseplants thrive and cut flowers last longer pet owners have noted pets are healthier. Farmers, who are now replacing ozone to clean the air in barns, have significantly reduced the polluting barn odors, as well as the rate of animal death by disease. As astounding as these testimonies are, it is the stories concerning humans that are most remarkable. Claims of chronic headaches disappearing, allergy and asthma symptoms ceasing or diminishing, snoring cessation, increased sense of smell, children and adults sleeping better, and the stories continue. We must keep in mind that despite the testimonies from those who purify their indoor air, it is illegal for the manufacturers and dealers of ozone air purification systems to make any health claims such as these. While testimonials may compel us to consider the possible benefits of natural air purification indoors, remember air purifiers only treat the air, not people. They are not guaranteed to cure health problems and are not sold as medical devices or as a medical cure.
Does Mother Nature Produce Enough Ozone? The exact amount of oxygen that we need for good health is determined for us by nature. Likewise, the amount of active oxygen, or ozone, that is essential for a healthy existence is determined by nature. Despite natural pollution from such things as oil and forest fires, or volcanic and other gasses, plus the pollution that nearly six billion people add, nature does a phenomenal job of continually purifying earth's limited air supply which has been reused over and over again. However, note that natural ozone remains outdoors unless we take special measures to get it inside. Otherwise, to sanitize indoor air, an indoor ozone air purifier is needed to replace needed ozone.
What Do We Know About Pollution in Indoor Environments? Indoor environments can easily have levels of air pollution up to five times greater than the outdoor air in large cities. Indoor air pollution can contain three different types of contaminants. We might find: (1) floating dust particles from many sources, (2) chemical gasses being continually emitted from everyday items such as carpets, furniture, plastics, clothing, building materials, and (3) biological contaminants such as mold, mildew, dust mites, mite excrement, bacteria and viruses. These pollutants can cause a long list of respiratory ailments and other ill health affects. Now, add to this the fact that indoor environments have air that is missing healthy levels of ozone to sanitize it. Thus, it is easy to understand, indoor air quality usually leaves much to be desired.
Is There a Natural Source of Ozone Indoors? There is virtually no ozone available in our indoor air because there is no source for it. This is especially true, considering today's energy efficient buildings. It is rare that sunshine enters a home without passing through glass. Also, there is neither exposed electricity nor lightning bolts appearing indoors. Furthermore, windows aren't left open enough because it's both impractical for security reasons, and due to the need for control of indoor temperature and humidity.
Can Ozone Be Produced For Indoor Environments? Devices that simulate certain natural effects and produce electricity can produce ozone. Specifically, ozone generators are manufacured to be air purifiers. Thus, these ozone air purifiers can be used indoors to sanitize the air and eliminate odors. Many people are now using air purifiers to replace the natural, beneficial levels of ozone in their indoor air. Selecting a model that is matched for your usage is important.
What is the Correct Amount of Ozone and Why is it Important? Individuals should seek to replace enough ozone in their indoor location, ufficient to sanitize the air and eliminate unwanted odors, without having more ozone than is required. The government's OSHA standard for maximum level of ozone is 0.1 parts per million, or PPM. Like everything in life, too much or too little of anything can be a problem. As an example, a small amount of fire is great to heat a home or to cook a meal. In contrast, too much fire could burn a home down. In essence, certain levels of fire are beneficial and others are not. Nature depicts our need for such things as ozone, oxygen, food, water, and sleep. Too much or too little of any of these and we will likely become ill. Yet in just the right amounts, they promote good health.
What Are Some Important Factors in Understanding Correct Ozone Utility? Several factors exist, which will effect whether a particular ozone air purifier can be used beneficially and safely. One main factor is the actual amount of ozone that is produced from a particular device and its' output control. Another factor is airflow, or how well an HVAC system exchanges the air in an environment. A third factor is the size of location, or total area where it will be used. A fourth factor is the amount of pollutants or airborne impurities that exist or are produced at a location. And a fifth factor relates to the proximity and sensitivity of individuals to ozone. Are There Ozone Generators on the Market That Produce Too Much Ozone? Ozone generators designed for relatively large commercial facilities can produce too much ozone if used in inappropriate locations or improperly. As an example, an ozone air purifier, without any output level control, designed for use in up to 5,000 sq. ft. areas should not be used in a small 200 sq.ft. room with no ventilation when individuals are present. Similarly, that same ozone air purifier could possibly be used in a small 200 sq. ft. room, if that model has an output level control that's set lower, and it's used in a room with good air exchange.
How Can I Select an Appropriate Model Ozone Air Purifier? When choosing an ozone air purifier, choose a model with output that is appropriate for your location. Also, choose a model that has a selectable output level, or at the very least, make sure it is on a timer circuit. It is also important to select a manufacturer that (1) has several models, (2) is available to consult on which specific model is best for your needs, and (3) has a good customer service policy. Ask if they allow swaps or upgrades if the model initially selected is either too small to be effective, or its output is too great based on your needs and/or sensitivity.
What Can I Do In My Home or Facility to Use an Ozone Air Purifier Correctly? First, select a location that has acceptable ventilation. Second, maintain your HVAC system's filters to insure that there is good air exchange in your system and that large particles can be trapped correctly by the filter. Third, try to monitor odors and/or relative levels of pollution in the air. At certain times, the air purifier might not need to be "on", or it could be on a lower setting. At other times, when impurities and odors become excessive or unhealthy, you can temporarily increase the ozone output to reduce airborne contaminants. Make sure at all times, it's used on safe levels. Why Do Health Authorities Report Ozone-Alerts as a Problem? There is a great deal of confusion about ozone, mostly due to a lack of information. For example, ozone is produced at the same time pollution is produced through fuel combustion. When man creates too much pollution, caused by millions of automobiles and aircraft in large cities and seen as a visible haze, we suffer irritation to our respiratory system. Because the levels of ozone can easily be measured, as opposed to the levels of all the various pollutants, large cities will issue ozone alerts. The higher levels of ozone are typically proportional to the amount of pollution in the air. Remember that ozone is produced along with the pollution. Thus, the ozone is also simultaneously acting as a purifier to help clean the pollutants from the air.
Why is There So Much Confusion About Ozone? There is limited research on ozone. Also, it's not widely distributed and available to the masses. Thus, people may misinterpret what they hear because the information is incomplete. Furthermore, there are financial reasons why confusion exists and why it's likely to continue. Companies generate billions and billions of dollars manufacturing: chemical deodorizers, filter based air purifiers, and drugs that treat symptoms of allergy and asthma. Even consider the government that earns taxes on these drugs. Unfortunately, treating symptoms is far more lucrative than what might be generated by solving the problems. It's no wonder why there is so much misinformation, and so little dissemination of data on ozone replacement. The irony is easy to understand. We all might ask, Why do we live with unhealthy odors, much less spend billions of dollars on chemical deodorizers (which are also pollutants themselves) in an attempt to simply mask pollution and odors? For consumers, ozone replacement can be a healthier and more cost-effective solution.
Why is There Confusion About Acceptable Levels of Ozone? The levels of ozone are measured in two ways, and in very tiny amounts. In the air, it's by "parts per million" (PPM). For some devices, output is by "milligrams per hour" (mg./hr.) Furthermore, both safe and unsafe levels are called "low" levels. Adding to the confusion, there is no specification for minimum levels of ozone. As noted, the OSHA standard for ozone is 0.1 PPM, providing the "maximum" level, but not specifying a standard for the ÒminimumÓ. Any intelligent person can easily be confused. Indeed, there is a lack of consistency about the "levels" of ozone.
How Many Ozone Air Purifiers Have Been Sold? Current sales are estimated at over four million systems. Reports show most are used 24 hours a day. They are being used in every conceivable indoor environment including homes, offices, day care centers, bars, restaurants, hospitals, laboratories, retail stores, etc. An interesting fact is with billions upon billions of hours of use, there has not been so much as one substantiated injury from replacing beneficial levels of ozone to indoor air. In fact, the opposite seems to be true.
Is Ozone Replacement the Only Method of Air Purification Needed? There is more than one measure that can solve indoor air quality problems. As important as ozone replacement is, it can be just the first consideration for improving indoor air. Second, attempt to eliminate contaminants through source reduction, or limiting of items that contribute to producing pollution. Third, increase ventilation to bring in oxygenated air from outdoors. Fourth, use filtration to trap the larger physical particles through the use of good quality air filters in HVAC systems, as well as HEPA filtration in vacuum cleaners and room air cleaners. Fifth, consider ionization to assist with small airborne particles, likely too small to be trapped using filters.
How Poor is the Indoor Air Quality in Houses and Buildings? The U.S. government has considered the indoor air pollution problem to be a #1 environmental health concern. Since the 1970's, we've been making homes airtight and energy efficient. Thus, this causes homes to collect, compound and even create pollutants in the indoor air. Correlated with the energy saving measures, we have had epidemic increases in the number of people who are now suffering with allergies, asthma and other health problems. Hundreds of thousands of people are being hospitalized and millions now need doctor visits, drugs, shots and inhalers. Indoor air pollution is a widespread problem in both new and old homes, whether located in cities or in rural areas. It is non-discriminating, affecting everyone from infants to senior citizens.
How Important is it to Solve Indoor Air Quality Problems? On average, each human will breathe approximately 2,500 gallons of air every day without proper consideration of its purity. We spend approximately 90% of our time indoors breathing particle pollutants, off-gassing chemicals and airborne biological pollutants. All three of the categories of indoor air pollution can affect everyone to varying degrees with a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms can include stuffy nose, nasal drip, ear infections, itchy throat, itchy eyes, tearing eyes, sneezing, chronic cough, wheezing, headaches, sleep difficulty, snoring, dizziness, tiredness, fatigue, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, sinusitis, sinus infections, mild or severe asthma, as well as allergies to dust, dander, pollen, mites, mold and chemicals. All of these symptoms can be caused by, or aggravated by indoor air contaminants. Odors from new construction materials, remodeling, paints, urethanes, new carpet, new vinyl, house pets, smoke, mold and mildew are also indicative of indoor air contamination. If we lived outdoors, breathing fresh air all the time, there might not be as much of a problem. If you or those you care about suffer from any of the symptoms associated with indoor air, it is recommended to take every measure possible to clean your indoor air, without delay.
Acknowledgements: This FAQ is a compendium of research from various sources, including experts and laboratories studying ozone and it's use for many years. We'd like to thank Jane E. Dennison, Ph.D., CIH, Laboratory Director, Princeton Analytical; Dan Schilling, Indoor Air Specialist, Residential Inspectors, LLC, the many researchers at Csonka Worldwide, along with the hundreds of individuals that have dedicated their time and energy to the search for the truth about ozone. All info and data provided here is to be used only with their permission. Contact Csonka at 800-276-6522, or at www.csonka.com. Copyright © 2002-2005, Csonka Worldwide. All rights reserved.