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air purifiers and other

updated mon 30 sep 96


Monona Rossol on thu 5 sep 96



The Nox-out molecular absorber I saw advertised was a jar of pellets that
are supposed to purify the air in the room. Stuff just runs over to the jar
and jumps in, right?


The Alpine Industries air purifiers were discussed in Consumer Reports.
Included was information on the hazards of ozone, which is a toxic gas
with the same air quality standard as phosgene (chemical warfare gas). Yet
companies like Alpine Air Products and Quantum have tried so strenuously to
get you to believe that ozone is safe that it ran afoul of the courts.
According to Consumer Reports (Oct 1992, p. 661):

"Last fall, a Minnesota state court found Alpine Air Products and its
president guilty of violating consumer fraud laws for claiming that ozone is
safe and necessary indoors, has positive health benefits, poses no risk to
people with respiratory problems, and that Alpine air cleaners emit only low
and harmless levels of ozone."

Apparently, Alpine reps just don't get it. They keep saying the same
old thing. As a chemist, I am particularly appalled at the suggestion that
Carl Ross made that you should have enough ozone in the house to detoxify
your formaldehyde. Air is mostly empty space and to get a significant number
of ozone and formaldehyde molecules together to make a difference, you's have
to have very high concentrations of ozone!

This problem is addressed in an article called "Use of Ozone Generating
Devices to Improve Indoor Air Quality," Mark F. Boeniger from the National
Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, published in the American
Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, June 1995. The writer concludes that
"ozone is not a practical and effective means of improving indoor air
quality, especially in light of its potentially serious risk to health."
Anyone who wants a copy of this article can write/e-mail me their snail mail

The reason these devices keep getting used is that ozone smells like "fresh
air" and can fool your nose into thinking things are better than they are.
It also deadens your ability to smell after a while.

Needless to say, Consumer Reports does not recommend any ozonizer and
neither would I. I wont even recommend ESP units if they produce
significant amounts of ozone.

To give you some perspective, I've picked out some workplace air quality
standards for some chemicals you might have heard of. The smaller the
number of parts per million (ppm), the less is allowed in the air in order to
protect workers. (Most are both ACGIH TLVs and OSHA PELs.)

ethyl alcohol............1000 ppm
acetone...................750 ppm
odorless paint thinner....300 ppm
turpentine, xylene, etc...100 ppm
toluene, n-hexane..........50 ppm
ammonia, carbon monoxide...25 ppm
nitric acid.................2 ppm
formaldehyde................0.75 (OSHA standard only)
chlorine gas................0.5 ppm
ozone.......................0.1 ppm *

* And ACGIH has proposed lowering it to 0.05 ppm!

Other 0.1 ppm TLV gases include acrolein (from hot wax), bromine,
chloropicrin, dichlorvos (a pesticide now banned for household use), phosgene
(warfare gas), and stibine (antimony hydride). If you wouldn't add these to
your air, don't add ozone.

Potters have to work with enough chemicals that are potential lung hazards
without spending money on a machine that makes more.

On another subject:

LYNN'S LIST: sharp-eyed Lynn Barth sent me some glaze formulas off the
Clayart list that contain essentially no hazardous metals. They are based on
fluxes like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, occasionally a little
zinc, etc. The colorants are iron primarily. These are the formulas we
should be honing to perfection for foodware.

Monona Rossol, industrial hygienist
Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety
181 Thompson St., # 23
New York, NY 10012-2586 212/777-0062

William Amsterlaw on fri 6 sep 96

To Monona Rossol:

On Thu, 5 Sep 1996 you wrote:
Yet companies like Alpine Air Products and Quantum have tried so strenuously
to get you to believe that ozone is safe that it ran afoul of the courts.

Thanks for a rigorous discussion, prepared with exceptional care.

- Bill Amsterlaw
Plattsburgh, NY on fri 6 sep 96

That is good advice on ozone. As a practical definition of the problems with
ozone, I would like to tell about a problem that IBM solved within the American
Airlines computer center back in the 1970s. The problem manifested itself in tw
ways: the first was an annoyance in that that certain machines would develop a
"tacky" paint after months in the computer room. If you leaned against the
machine, fibers from your clothes will stick to the paint, though none seemed to
come off on your clothes. The second problem was more serious, causing
computer down-time. Rubber shock cushions under rotating disk units were
disintegrating within 6 to 9 months. Also transfer valves in the vaccum collums
tape drives were failing at a rate that was 2 to 3 time higher than in similar

The cause of the problem was finally traced to the fact that American Airlines w
using an electrostatic precipitator to "clean" the air in the computer room of d
While the electrostatic charge was knocking the dust from the air, it was also
building up the quantity of ozone, causing any rubberized parts to disintegrate.
Yes, the paint on the "tacky" machines was a latex base. The same ozone
problem causes rubber windshield wipers to fail quickly in Los Angeles basin.
Thank goodness they don't get much rain. CrossPlatform Creativity
Reflections Publishing, Inc. CrossPlatform Multimedia Development

Carl Ross on sat 7 sep 96

I have to comment on that,

for the alpine air purifier to produce an even harmful amount of ozone, it
would take one of the models made for 2500 Square feet in a 10x10 room full
blast. it produces such a minute amount that it has passed all the lab tests.
The Alpine Air purifiers produce only enough for it to be beneficial when
used correctly. It says clearly right on the machine the square footage for
it to cover at a safe level. It really is less than .04 parts per million
which is within the guideline for it being beneficial.

The ozone makes it merely like it was just after a thunderstorm all the time.

Gotta go,

Carl in Phillips

Bill Aycock on sun 8 sep 96

At 08:00 AM 9/7/96 EDT, you (Carl Ross) wrote: *** in part ***
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>I have to comment on that,
It really is less than .04 parts per million
>which is within the guideline for it being beneficial.

>Carl in Phillips
Carl- Just what guidlines are those ? please give me a reference I can check.

Bill- being very skeptical on Persimmon Hill

Bill Aycock --- Persimmon Hill --- Woodville, Alabama, USA --- (in
the N.E. corner of the State)
also-- W4BSG -- Grid EM64

Carl Ross on sun 8 sep 96


I must be honest in saying that this is the only time anyone ever questioned
this before. The people who first made the Apline Air Purifiers did plenty of
research as to whether it is safe or not. The only reason they are not UL
listed is that they are the first of their kind. They are often imitated but
never paralleled. The Underwriters Laboratories is still looking at these
machines and are stumped, because they have nothing to compare them to. If
you give me your Address I'll send you a focus pack which will tell you all
the scientific stuff you need to know. All I know is they work and the only
problem I have had is when we first plugged it in we had to keep it a little
low because it had to have time to clean the air first. If you want we sold
one to a friend in Texas. Her E-mail address is my
father met her through a list and she turned me on to Vince's Colored Clay
workshop, and Clayart.

I hope this reassures you.

Gotta Go,

Carl in Phillips

P.S. I would be glad to have a conference call with some of the people that
know more about it than me. I just try to watch so people can be aware of all
their options.

Check out this sight also
I just looked under ozone.
You may want to look around some of the other sites also.

Bill Aycock on mon 9 sep 96

At 11:07 PM 9/8/96 EDT, you wrote: *** in part ***
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>I must be honest in saying that this is the only time anyone ever questioned
>this before.
>Carl in Phillips
Carl- I think you misunderstood my question. I have no need for information
re the Alpine machine,( at least at this time) and only asked for data to
quantify the "beneficial level" of Ozone.

I know what Ozone is, and how it smells, and some ways it is generated.
What I dont have a clue about is any level that is good, and what research
substantiates it. I looked at the reference you mentioned (will read it
carefully later), and the first two pages had only vague
generalities. I dont need any brochures, just information.

Thanks- Bill- living in relatively clean air, on Persimmon Hill.

Bill Aycock --- Persimmon Hill --- Woodville, Alabama, USA --- (in
the N.E. corner of the State)
also-- W4BSG -- Grid EM64

Carl Ross on tue 10 sep 96

I must add that I just heard from our up line that Alpine Air purifiers will
soon have a sensor that will act as an ozone thermostat. it will also soon
have a light indicating ionization.

sorry to clog up the list with irrelavent info.