Electrostatic precipitators are air cleaners that create negatively charged air molecules called ions. These negatively charged particles stick to airborne particles (dust) and are collected on a positively charged plate that must be frequently cleaned to maintain the unit’s function. It is difficult to clean these devices because the particles become stuck on the plate.
Electronic air cleaners use high voltages to create ions. In this process, ozone and nitrogen oxide, which are toxic chemicals, are often inadvertently created. Ozone, a known lung irritant, reacts to chemicals found in household cleaning products, paints, polishes, carpets and linoleum. These chemical reactions create harmful byproducts that can exacerbate allergies, asthma and lung disease. The EPA states that "relatively low amounts (of ozone) can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and, throat irritation."
Ionic Breeze and Friedrich are air purifiers that use electrostatic precipitators.