Thank you, Isthmus, for the opportunity to respond to Amanda Goldstein's fear of ozone-producing air purifiers, as referenced in Bill Lueders' recent article (Watchdog, "Clearing the Air...," 6/11/09).
Goldstein's ozone phobia, like that of other people, arose out of misinformation. In fairness to Goldstein, she's not the first to become confused by outdated, poorly written articles online, namely those on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website.
Her main concern was that her husband's cough was caused by ozone. Her husband, like anyone else, can develop a temporary or chronic cough for myriad reasons, whether or not an air purifier is present. To link his cough to ozone is impulsive and unsubstantiated.
The EPA, in my professional experience, has continually been scaring and misleading the public about ozone. Twenty years ago, the EPA attacked air purifiers that produce ozone after it blatantly violated manufacturer instructions during testing and then reported the distorted results.
Having failed to avoid bias in the pursuit of scientific fact, the EPA neglected to research ozone's effectiveness. The agency also never explained the differences between hazardous high levels of ozone versus safe levels produced not only by air purifiers, but also by nature every day.
When using an ozone-producing air purifier in a home, what's sought are safe ozone levels - those that we breathe outdoors and that have protected every living creature on earth for millennia.
Although ozone was FDA-approved in 2001 as an airborne anti-microbial agent to protect human health, the EPA's propaganda remains online and doesn't acknowledge scientifically safe levels established by the FDA. It's also shameful to see purported consumer organizations referring to the old EPA documents instead of researching up-to-date technology.
What upsets me most is that the EPA has done little to protect families from indoor air contaminants that verifiably cause illness and asthma attacks. Instead, the EPA worries people about radon gas, when no one is sick or dying from radon anywhere in the world, and it promotes radon testing even though the tests are unreliable.
This same agency provides inferior instructions for the remediation of mold-contaminated buildings, which could result in people getting terribly sick.
The truth is, air purifiers that incorporate ozone technology have been and are used in schools, hospitals, government buildings and every kind of business imaginable, as well as in millions of homes. Reason being: They work.
After experiencing ozone air purification, many of my clients, including several medical professionals, would not live in homes without an air purifier.
Having said all that, the purification technology in Goldstein's purifier was "next-generation," not based on ozone in the first place. It uses harmless hydro-peroxides that are even more effective than ozone for continuous purification. I'm unaware of any other purifier technology with as much scientific testing and unbiased documentation for safety and effectiveness.
Air is the single most important nutrient for life, surpassing food and water. Learning how to breathe the best air possible is invaluable and worth a Google search or two of your own.
Dan Schilling, Residential Inspections LLC, Madison
Ridgewood boosters get to the core
There are false impressions conveyed in Ruth Conniff's column "The End of an Era" (6/26/09) concerning the Ridgewood Neighborhood that spanned her commute along North Thompson Drive.
Sir Isaac Newton's experience of being whacked on the head by a falling apple while daydreaming led to the discovery of gravity. But the apple isn't itself gravity.
North Thompson Drive spurred Conniff's thoughtful perspective about yesteryear and the future. The same thoughts may have been stimulated hot air ballooning over the countryside.
A deeper look inside the neighborhood reveals an apple - much more than the thoughts and ideas triggered on a much-traveled road to the mall.
Joe Campana, Ridgewood Neighborhood Association
Ruth Conniff demonstrates that people see what they want to see but not all of what's there.
She drove through Ridgewood Neighborhood on her trip down North Thompson to East Towne Mall. Her picture of single-family three-bedroom homes and SUVs implies a very upscale, upper-class neighborhood, accessible only by motor vehicles.
Apparently Conniff did not see Route 30 bus stop signs or marked bicycle lanes along North Thompson. People also use the sidewalks for exercise and travel. Perhaps Conniff could have taken Madison Metro to East Towne.
She also missed the apartment complexes and multi-family residences along the way and must not have seen the many midsized vehicles parked in driveways..
The Ridgewood Neighborhood is richly diverse. Conniff's objectives of sustainability can be accomplished here.
Bob Schaefer, Ridgewood Neighborhood Association
Support your local BID
Thank you, Isthmus, for spotlighting the work of the downtown Business Improvement District ("Get Rid of the BID?" 7/3/09). Unfortunately, the article may have left readers with some misperceptions.
[The article reported that "a couple of property owners pay more than $20,000" a year in fees to the BID.] The median annual BID assessment for commercial properties within the district is $800. No property is assessed more than $6,000, with only a handful (less than 2%) nearing that level.
[The article mentioned "potted plants" in a list of BID expenditures.] The BID funds spring flowers in more than 80 large street planters plus the hanging baskets on State Street and Capitol Square, plus the downtown Madison Map & Guide, cooperative marketing for downtown businesses, the Downtown Madison Gift Certificate Program, and the Downtown Information Ambassadors, who helped more than 28,000 people last year.
All these activities support a vital, economically healthy downtown retail and entertainment district, in which the majority of businesses are locally owned.