SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif., Nov. 12 – In Consumer Reports’ December 2007 article “Air Purifiers Filtering the Claims,” the popular product review magazine admits that the air purifier they recommended as #1 for 15 years produces ozone and may be potentially harmful. According to IQAir North America, the magazine’s continued lack of in-depth comparison is still causing them to recommend inferior and potentially unhealthy products while failing to acknowledge IQAir’s vastly superior HealthPro Plus room air purifier.
“Consumer Reports air purifier review completely fails consumers,” says Frank Hammes, President of IQAir. “It took Consumer Reports 15 years to come to the simple realization that an air purifier should not produce a lung irritant. It could take them another 15 years to realize their entire rating process is fundamentally flawed. Readers believe the magazine is conducting a thorough and in-depth review of air purifiers, but the truth is that their testing is so superficial it causes Consumer Reports to make the wrong recommendations.”
IQAir met with Consumer Reports in January 2006 to discuss a number of ways the magazine needed to improve their testing process.
“They incorporated just one of our suggested changes into their review process – rating air purifiers by whether or not they produce ozone,” says Hammes. “This one change caused Consumer Reports to drop the air purifier they had recommended as number one for 15 years down to 28th place. If they would incorporate all of the necessary changes to their review process you would see every one of their top recommended products drop down in rating.”
Asthma advocate Lisa Whiting believes Consumer Reports endangered her son’s life.
“Following Consumer Reports recommendations could have killed my son,” says Whiting. “When Brant was eight – he went into full respiratory arrest because of his asthma. I bought several air purifiers because they received top recommendations from Consumer Reports – and not one of them helped. Finally, I tossed out the magazine and did my own research. I found out Consumer Reports is not just misinformed – their advice can actually be dangerous.”
Whiting credits doing her own research to helping her find an air purifier that helped her son.
“I bought IQAir’s HealthPro Plus,” says Whiting. “In one school year my son had missed 67 days or partial days of school because of his asthma, but the year after we got the HealthPro Plus he missed zero days of school. If I had kept listening to Consumer Reports I would have kept buying bad air cleaners and avoided the good one.”
IQAir designed the HealthPro Plus with a vision of creating the world’s most advanced ultra-high efficiency air purifier, one that could be used in both medical environments as well as homes. The HealthPro Plus has received numerous top reviews from allergy and asthma groups and consumer product testing organizations worldwide, including Stiftung Warentest, the prestigious German government funded product review organization. It is used by hospitals in more than 100 countries to help protect patients and caregivers from the cross contamination of diseases such as SARS, MRSA, tuberculosis and Avian flu.
IQAir has recommended several evaluation criteria that Consumer Reports needs to incorporate into their air purifier testing:
- Permanent Particle Removal: Many of Consumer Reports top recommended products use ionization. The ionization process adds an electrical charge to particles that makes them adhere to surfaces. Consumer Reports tells people ionized particles are trapped inside the machine, but in reality ionized particles are systematically emitted into the air and deposit on floors, walls, and other surfaces. Charged particles deposited on room surfaces can soil walls and furniture, but a more serious concern voiced by medical professionals is that ionization can increase the particle deposition into lung tissue and increase contact allergies. Charged particles can also retrain into the environment when the device is turned on/off or when the electrical charge dissipates. IQAir’s HealthPro Plus does not use ionization. It uses pure mechanical filtration that permanently traps particles in its HyperHEPA filter and never re-releases them.
- Long-Term Efficiency: A crucial requirement of air purifiers purchased for health or medical use is that they keep working. Unfortunately, Consumer Reports only tests room air cleaners for their first 30 minutes of use. Ionizers, electrostatic precipitators, and air cleaners that use synthetic HEPA can rapidly lose their initial efficiency with use. Long-term testing of these devices would reveal that their initial performance can rapidly deteriorate. Consumer Reports ranks these technologies highly because of their high initial airflow, but they fail to recognize that many of these devices can lose as much as 50% of their initial function in just a few weeks. The HealthPro Plus uses the highest grade true HEPA filtration that never loses efficiency.
- Ultra-fine Particle Filtration: Consumer Reports only tests air purifiers for their filtration for particles down to 0.1 microns in size, but 80% of all airborne particles are smaller than 0.1 microns. Numerous scientific studies have shown that ultra-fine particles are the most harmful to our health. This is the particle size range that can enter the human blood stream and significantly increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Many room air purifiers have poor efficiency at filtering these ultra-fine particles. The HealthPro Plus was chosen by the Hong Kong Hospital Authority as the only room air purifier suitable to be used in the fight against SARS because it is the only room air purifier tested and certified to filter down to 0.003 microns with a guaranteed minimum efficiency of over 99.5%.
- Gas and Chemical Filtration: Many of Consumer Reports top recommended air purifiers are advertised as effective at removing household “odors” – but in truth most of these products contain no effective gas or chemical filtration technology. Odor removal is one of the top reasons many consumers purchase air purifiers, and it is very important to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions. Stiftung Warentest went on record to state that a good air purifier must contain gas and chemical filtration. Consumer Reports failure to rate this important quality keeps consumers from being able to identify the products they actually want and need. Consumers may be shocked to learn that Consumer Reports actually downgrades an air purifier’s rating for including effective gas/chemical filtration because this technology lowers airflow. The HealthPro Plus contains the most effective gas and chemical filtration ever available in a residential air purifier.
“We believe Consumer Reports genuinely wants to bring consumers the best product evaluations possible,” says Hammes. “But the magazine needs to recognize that air purifiers are primarily purchased by people with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Consumer Reports should test air purifiers as medical devices – not toasters. They must make these necessary changes to their review process so they can help guide consumers to the best air purifiers. If they don’t make significant changes – they need to stop testing air purifiers altogether because their current review process is actually guiding consumers to make bad decisions.”
IQAir North America, Inc. is a member of the Swiss based IQAir Group that develops and manufactures innovative air quality products for indoor environments. IQAir products are used worldwide by hospitals and other critical environments. IQAir also manufactures home air cleaners for allergy and asthma sufferers and individuals with chemical sensitivities.