Are Air Purifiers Safe for Pets?
Air purifiers seem like a great solution to the odors and dander produced by your pets. However, some purifiers can be potentially hazardous to your pet’s well-being.
Pets are awesome—they entertain you, they provide companionship, and some of them even protect you. If they’re allowed inside, they also make for great cuddle buddies. But even with all the perks, there’s the occasional price to pay. You know—that musty cat litter smell? That’s the last thing you want to encounter when you come home from a long day of work.
There’s also, of course, allergies. Even if you’re not actually allergic to pet hair or feathers, they can still aggravate your sinuses. When birds rub their feathers together, a fine dust is emitted that triggers a serious allergic reaction.
Luckily there’s a solution for your cuddly, but stinky, problem—an air purifier.
Before you rush out and buy the first air purifier you see, you need to know about a few things that might influence your decision. Firstly, air purifiers that emit ozone are not a good fit for pets. According to the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), ozone can actually cause physical harm to birds. It can damage their respiratory systems, which are inherently more vulnerable to pollutants than ours. It can also increase physical stress to them, and reduce immune function.
An ozone generator is a type of air purifier that converts oxygen into ozone and destroys bacteria, fungus, mold, viruses, and mildew. Another ozone-producing technology is an ionizer. Ionization technology uses high voltage electricity to generate negative ions, which attract particles to a point at which they are too heavy to remain airborne. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), ozone is released through the charging process, although these devices typically emit much less ozone than ozone generators. Ozone is also harmful to people, so this is why CARB requires ozone output of air purifiers to be no more than 0.05 ppm. A list of CARB-certified air purifiers can be found on their website.
So if you have a feathery friend, it’s probably best to steer clear of anything with “ozone” in its name, or at least to consult your veterinarian. If you want an air purifier with an ionizer, make sure it includes the option to turn it off.
Pet hair can also lead to a sneeze or two, but it’s not the hair itself that’s giving you trouble. Just like humans, animals shed dead skin cells, and these little buggers are what really wreak havoc on your sinuses.
That’s where a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter can help you out. According to WebMD, a HEPA filter works by forcing air through fine mesh, which traps harmful particles, such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.
While improving your indoor air quality can reduce allergies, it doesn’t solve the problem of pet-related odors.
A carbon-based filter in your air purifier can absorb odors effectively, but if you have a severe urine-odor problem, for instance, opting for an air purifier that has an additional carbon filter is the way to go. Some air purifiers, like Rabbit Air’s MinusA2 and A3, can include an extra customized filter made specifically to deal with pet odors and allergens. Also, make sure that your air purifier has the capacity to run 24 hours a day, otherwise you won’t be able to fully reap the filter’s benefits.
Air purifiers are safe for pets, but some are better than others. Do your research, check specifications thoroughly, and consult your vet to find the best fit for you and your furry, feathery friends.