Consumer Reports Magazine has a large following and there customers expect that they information they provide is truthful and without bias. This however IS NOT the case with their recent articles “Air Cleaners: Some Do Little Cleaning” and “Air Purifier Claims.” In these articles Consumer Reports makes misleading and inaccurate claims while glorifying low quality poorly designed air cleaners. In these articles Consumer Reports fails to recognize high quality HEPA air cleaners such as Austin Air, EZ Air, and TRACS as top of the line air purifiers.
These brands are top of the line and are what the professionals recommend and use personally. We can tell you from over 20 years experience in Indoor Air Quality Improvement that these are the types of air cleaners used by hospitals, laboratories, and clean environments.
The reason for Consumer Reports misreporting is simple. They do not conduct the proper testing. Their testing method is what is known as CADR testing protocol, which was developed by AHAM (Association of Home American Manufacturers). The AHAM is a trade3 association that promotes the products of their paying customers only, many of which are low quality. Most top of the line air purification manufactures refuse to pay AHAM large sums of money to be a member. To be an AHAM member you must pay a large sum of money and a percentage of total sales. This can add up to a huge amount of money!
Another reason Consumer Reports testing is flawed is that it only tests for the air cleaner’s ability to collect the largest 20% of particles in the air. This only includes dust particles and some pollen but does not include smoke, odors, chemicals, gas, and many other small particles known as VOCs (volatile Organic Compounds). These small particles are often the most dangerous as they can penetrate deep into the lungs causing lasting damage to the body. The only filters that properly filter all the particles are HEPA filters, which collect at a minimum 99.97% down to 0.3 microns particle size.
The primary way to remove VOCs is through the use of carbon filters, which many on HEPA units do not have. The carbon filters are a much safer and more effective method for removing small particles than ionizers. Ionizers produce ozone, which can cause permanent lung damage to people with preexisting lung conditions.
Consumer Reports also failed to test the air cleaners over a long period of time. Short term testing is highly ineffective due to the nature of air cleaners. Experts in indoor air quality agreed that poorly designed air cleaners lose most of their effectiveness within a short period of time. This can be within a couple of months meaning that the cleaner is completely useless in only a few short months.
HEPA air purifiers on the other hand do not lose their effectiveness over time. In fact HEPA filter’s efficiency actually increases as it becomes clogged because it makes it more difficult for particles to pass through.
NOTE: I called Consumer Reports Magazine in my attempt to again talk to someone in the division that tests the air cleaner and air purifiers about how and why they do their testing to AHAM’s CADR standards. I told the customer relations reprehensive that helped me that I wanted to know why the magazine still continues to use the CADR testing method and I told her all about my concerns, The Rep’s name was Kim H. Kim was very nice and I believe that she really did her best to help me as she called me back a couple of times to tell me that she forwarded my concerns to the right people with the word urgent in the message but they did not return her calls or E-mail. All she could tell me was that she had no idea why they would not contact her or me back about this subject. I guess this is the way Consumers Reports conducts business with people that question the way they test their products! I feel that this is very wrong and any company that is in business to guide people that have such total trust in them should be ready to hear the concerns of the people that are affected by their published product choices so they can always strive to do better for the millions of people that follow their recommendations!
I will end this by saying:
Come on Consumer Reports Magazine At Consumers Union In Yonkers New York!
It’s time to do the right thing! Change these self-serving appliance industry AHAM CADR testing methods to a new and higher level of testing standards. Air cleaners and air purifiers tested by new, proper standards will benefit the people that need to own quality air cleaners and air purifiers. Carefully controlled standards and testing procedures will assure people with chronic health problems that they will have cleaner safer air to breathe. Please upgrade your testing methods to benefit the public and your many readers!
Consumer Reports Magazine, the words below in quotes are yours as written on the home page of consumersunion.org
“Consumers Union (CU) is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization, whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers”.