The TCH climate control system includes a Plasmacluster Ioniser which according to Toyota removes airborne contaminants. This device I believe is located behind the left-hand drivers side air vent. Question, as I can find no reference to this device needing to be cleaned, what happens to the contaminants it removes? I'm guessing that it positively charges the particles and they then "plate-out" as dirt on the inside of the electrically grounded vehicle. Does anybody have any information on this?
These devices when used in home heating systems have received quite a lot of bad publicity in recent years as they tend to produce ozone deemed to be unhealthy. Ozone has a very distinctive pungent smell, has anyone noticed this?
The Sharp Plasmacluster, from articles/info I've read, releases negligible amounts (if any) of ozone. You are safe inside the Camry. Diesel engine exhaust particulates alone will cause more lung damage than trace amounts of ozone possibly emitted from the air purifier. And no, there isn't any "pungent" smell inside the car... only when I roll down the windows and smell the Escalades and Suburbans crappy exhaust on the streets.
Last edited by martinmzfan; 10-10-2006 at 10:53 PM.
... I'm guessing that it positively charges the particles and they then "plate-out" as dirt on the inside of the electrically grounded vehicle. Does anybody have any information on this? ...
The descriptions I've read makes no mention of any plates but does say the system produces positive AND negative ions. It produces ions but I never saw any mention of it actually removing anything from the air. The Camry's (HV and Conventional) have filters that do that and they do indeed need periodic servicing.
I think the IONizer is just a "make you feel good" type of device.
Sharp's standard room plasmacluster has HEPA and charcoal filters built in. In the Camry, only the ion generator is added to the system and relies on the standard cabin filter for particulate filtration.
Two climate control systems, one inside and the other at the tailpipe.
2007 Camry Hybrid (in service June 2006)
2004 Sienna (in service May 2003)
This is a topic I am VERY concerned about, and it looks like it will keep me from buying a Camry Hybrid.
My husband has severe asthma. Because of this, we educated ourselves well on the different products that could help his asthma - including air purifiers.
There are TWO problems associated with ionizers. The one everyone knows about is the 'ozone' concern. The problem I have with anyone saying that a device emits 'minimal' amounts of ozone is that any amount of ozone is emitted against the ambient background level and this DOES raise the ozone level. Inside a vehicle you are in a very small enclosed cabin and even small amounts of ozone present a problem for someone with asthma. It's been scientidically demonstrated that raising ozone by even very small amounts DOES affect an asthmatic.
The bigger concern I have is that the Sharp Plasmacluster is an 'ionizer.' Ionizers don't filter particles from the air the way HEPA air cleaners do. They add an electrical charge to an airborne particle (positive or negative ions.) This electrical charge 'cleans the air' by making particles adhere to a nearby surface. There is a collection plate in the Sharp Plasmacluster that will catch some of the particulate, but the rest of the ions are going to spew into the Camry Hybrid's cab. This will cause pollen and dust to 'stick' to surfaces (seat upholstery, dashboard, etc...) increasing the risk of contact allergies. This is BAD for an asthmatic. On top of this, charged particles have been shown to increase the risk of lung deposition of particluate. The electrical charge can actually make asthma triggering pollutants embed more deeply into lung tissue.
My husband called the Toyota service center this morning. The techs didn't have a clue if this device could be removed. Then he called the national Toyota center. They didn't know if it could be taken out either, but the people he spoke to at Toyota told him they didn't think it could be removed. They also said there is no 'off' switch for turning it off.
I don't think Toyota promotes the ionizer so much as a purifier as it does as a plain old ionizer. The additions of ions is for their "feel good feel pure" effect. The fact they may affect an asthmatic is a side effect. Also you argument is a bit weak in that the air in the cabin probably gets changed every few minutes.
What does an asthmatic do after a lightning storm? I have to believe there is more ozone introduced by one of those than a thousand Camry ionizers.
Marianne — I have never detected even so much as a whiff of ozone from my Camry's "Plasmacluster." The Camry's air-conditioning system includes a user-replaceable HEPA filter, but it's before the Plasmacluster. I'm not sure whether the Plasmacluster includes a filter of its own, but if so, it's not user-replaceable. There's also not a separate fuse (that could be removed) for the Plasmacluster — that would have been an easy way to disable it. The Plasmacluster produces positive and negative ions in equal numbers, so that the air stream remains electrically neutral overall. I'm attaching a document that I found on the Sharp Web site. Sharp are the makers of Plasmacluster devices. I hope this helps you decide on any potential risks for your husband.
Last edited by SPL; 03-06-2007 at 11:55 AM.
Reason: Added the word "overall."
The Plasmacluster produces positive and negative ions in equal numbers, so that the air stream remains electrically neutral. I'm attaching a document that I found on the Sharp Web site. Sharp are the makers of Plasmacluster devices. I hope this helps you decide on any potential risks for your husband.
Stan and Schmidt, thank you for commenting.
The comments that my arguement are 'weak' in regards to ozone aren't really on the mark. Ozone generating devices have been extensively sold to consumers as "healthy" when in fact it has been clearly demonstrated that these devices ARE a health risk to an asthmatic. Unfortunately, ionizer manufacturers work overtime to convince consumers that they aren't "ozone generators." Both devices produce ozone...and plain and simple ozone is ozone. It is a lung irritating gas even in very small amounts. Consumer Reports did an excellent expose on ionizers in regards to ozone. I just wish they had focused more on the 'charged particle' aspect of ionizers. A great discussion on ozone producing air purifiers can be found at http://www.epinions.com/content_144521727620
The idea that the electrical charge is 'neutral' is a fallacy. Ionizers work by adding an electrical charge, either positive or negative, and this electrical charge makes a particle adhere to a surface. It's one thing to have pollen and other allergens sticking to the seats of your car - but the BIG concern here is that these charged particles are shown to increase the amount of airborne pollutants that imbed into your lung tissue. This isn't something to be dismissed lightly. Imagine an asthmatic child sitting in the back seat of a closed Camry Hybrid while the parents drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles to visit the grandparents for Christmas? You might have to make a stop at the ER if this device is active.
This is why we are looking to see if it can be removed. My husband is 6'4', and he doesn't fit well behind the wheel of a Prius. The Camry Hybrid is a perfect car for him. We love the fuel efficiency and we want to buy green, but unless we can get this ionizer out we can't get this car.