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Report: Sharper Image purifiers actually make air worse

Marc Perton
sharper image ionic breeze

We wouldn't want to be in customer support at The Sharper Image these days. With the company's lawsuit against Consumer Reports thrown out by the courts, the purveyor of overpriced and uninspired gear now faces new charges related to the same product that led to the suit in the first place: its Ionic Breeze air purifiers. And this time, it's not just that the Breeze doesn't work, as CR charged in 2003. The magazine's latest study charges that the units actually make air quality worse, by releasing excess ozone into the air — something that can cause serious respiratory problems, especially for asthmatics or other people with breathing concerns (who, not incidentally, are among the biggest purchasers of air purifiers). Not surprisingly, Sharper Image's stock has plummeted, and it released a statement calling the report "an unfair assault." Meanwhile, we imagine the company is desperately retooling to come up with another hit product, and that we'll see their ever-popular electric nose-hair trimmer on the cover of their next catalog.

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