Building Air Quality - March 2019

For Building Owners and Facility Managers BUILDING AIR QUALITY

281-448-1100 or TOLL FREE 866-367-1177 | | March 2019

BEWARE IAQ MIRACLE CURES Blue Sky and Good Will vs. Science

Last August, I was approached by a guy who claimed to have an amazing product that used hydrogen peroxide to oxidize odors and particles in the air. It worked great, he insisted, and would solve almost every indoor air quality problem. After being endorsed by both the U.S. Army and Homeland Security, he wanted to use this equipment to clean the air inside schools. He reached out to have me test the air inside the schools before they put in the equipment, then come back and test again to show how much of an improvement there was.

housed people who had crossed the border and were waiting to be told where to go next. He had the church install the equipment in their buildings and offered anecdotal evidence, insisting everyone in the buildings felt great. Claiming to be endorsed by Homeland Security was a stretch, to put it nicely. I couldn’t get a straight answer on how they were endorsed by the U.S. Army. The worst came when I finally spoke with the guy who claimed to have invented the product. I quickly realized he couldn’t answer many of my specific questions, like how hydrogen peroxide would interact with formaldehyde already in the air. He claimed the product had been tested by Kansas State University and the University of Cincinnati. When I asked for the research papers, he could only give me the name of the doctors who supposedly did the research. Most of what I learned about this “amazing” product came later when I did a little research of my own. I found the doctor from Kansas State. They had written a paper on a similar piece of technology, but that research was on how it could handle a variety of contaminants on stainless steel kitchen surfaces . Likewise, the doctor from the University of Cincinnati had written research papers on IAQ in food-service areas but offered no comment on this tech they were selling.

Working with a company that had been endorsed by the army and Homeland Security sounded like a great opportunity to get a lot of business, but I’ve been in the field of IAQ for a long time. When I met with this guy again in late December, along with the lead salesman and the guy who supposedly invented the product, I went into the meeting with my antenna up and a lot of questions that needed answers. It didn’t take long for the salesman to say things that really tripped my triggers. He claimed the product employed “advanced oxidation technology using ionized hydro- peroxide” and that it used “non-nano titanium dioxide and several transitional elements to produce superoxide ions.”This all sounded great, but I know there’s no such thing as hydro- peroxide or superoxide ions. The pseudoscience

Every four or five years, another miracle cure-all hits the market.

didn’t end with the marketing lingo — there was actual pseudoscience in store.

When I pressed about the product being endorsed by Homeland Security, I learned the salesman was a former Baptist minister who worked with a church in south Texas that

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