In re: Air cleaners, worth it or a scam?

Recently I rearranged my bedroom and in the process unearthed and set loose more dust than should really develop in 2 years, or even 10.  Since then I also came down sick and while it may have been coincidence it got me  interested in the air quality in the room I essentially spend the most time in, albeit mostly asleep.  Without really doing the research I should have I choose an air purifier with a HEPA filter (know the name, couldn’t have told you exactly what that was though) and I kinda knew at the back of my mind that those ionic air purifiers that the Sharper Image and other advertised might be kinda a scam (I will never buy a Sharper Image product as a side note, I bought on clearance for $15 a clock radio & cd player that was ‘advertised’ as $150, needless to say the thing was the biggest piece of crap, I mean literally the $4 ones from Walgreens sound better, would be easier to use and did so without 7 different wires that needed to be connected)

I digress, anyway, knowing that anything Sharper Image was associated with was something I wanted nothing to do with I went with the fan kind of model that doesn’t ionize or work without a filter.  With dog hair and dust, I wanted a filter, even if thats old fashioned.  So fast forward, today was the first day with the filter running, setting it up a few hours ago was simple enough, not sure how the results will be yet of course, or if I will notice anything at all.  I did notice since then a story about how to choose one and it seems I did alright actually and that indeed those non filtered and non fan models that run quietly also don’t do anything.

A professor of environmental health at Harvard explained how to choose a portable air cleaner on Ask TreeHugger and to see the results of the Sharper Images lawsuit against Consumer Reports for trashing the Ionic Breeze in its reviews, see here (hint: Sharper Image didn’t get very far and got stuck with court costs…)  Its not at all clear if any of them are that great a buy, a CR report said “Relatively few air cleaners excelled in the CR tests, especially among room models, which account for the most sales, as measured in dollars. Many room air cleaners scored fair or poor in at least one of CR‘s four cleaning tests for dust and smoke.”  In May 2005, CR published “New concerns about ionizing air cleaners,” which showed that some ionizing models did a poor job of cleaning the air and several can expose users to potentially harmful levels of ozone, an irritant that can worsen asthma and decrease lung function.”

And I guess its also unclear if removing dust in the air has any health effects, so we will try and find out.


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