I’d often wondered about those Ionic Breeze air purifiers sold by The Sharper Image. Apparently they work by ionizing (electrically charging) dirt particles in the air which are then attracted to the oppositely charged collection blades in the unit. The charged particles stick to the blades and can be just wiped off. This always seemed too good to be true to me. And according to Consumer Reports magazine, it is:
Sharper Image’s Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier and four other similar machines fail to significantly clean the air — but also release potentially unhealthy levels of ozone.
The article is being published two months after San Francisco-based Sharper Image agreed to pay the magazine’s publisher, Consumers Union, $525,000 in legal costs after a judge dismissed its libel suit. The failed lawsuit alleged that earlier magazine articles highly critical of the Ionic Breeze’s ability to reduce airborne particles were false and malicious.
Apparently the “air ionization” process creates ozone as a by-product. Sharper Image’s attorney hit back with this hilarious appeal to popularity:
It is astonishing that Consumers Union would continue its misguided efforts to attack the judgment and experience of millions of Americans who are satisfied with the performance of the Ionic Breeze products
(FYI, Sharper Image’s full response.)
So this is an air purifier that not only doesn’t purify the air, but actually releases dangerous levels of poisonous ozone. Perhaps it should be renamed the Ironic Breeze.