The Flair Air Purifier
The story of the Flair air purifier is the story of a product with a lot of problems. The problems come in a few different flavors, but aren’t directly tied to the product itself so much as the marketplace.
The First Strike Against Flair
The first difficulty is the type of room air purifier the traditional Flair is – an ozone generating, ion filter type.1 While there isn’t anything wrong with the technology per se, and it does remove particles from the air – in the 1990s, regulators took a hard look at these types of products. Unfortunately, air purifiers that are based on this technology alone were found to have one serious problem.
The problem is that the same ionization process that makes particles stick to a grid (like magnetizing a dust or smoke particle) also does a few other, unwanted things. The first is that charging up particles can often split them into smaller particles. This is especially true for chemicals in the air. In a sense, the air purifier is causing a chemical reaction and producing things that didn’t exist before. Some of those things can be dangerous. Another problem is the ozone itself.2
Ozone has been found to trigger asthma attacks. Since many people with asthma buy air purifiers specifically for their condition, the effect is to put the most vulnerable population right in with something that might hurt them. Not good.
As an example, California regulated which air purifiers it would certify based on measurements of ozone output. Alpine Flair air purifier and EcoQuest Flair air purifier made the list in 2008 as potentially hazardous.3 Obviously, this wasn’t good for business. However, notice both Alpine and EcoQuest are listed – this brings us to the second difficulty for Flair air purifiers.
The Second Strike
Alpine and EcoQuest sold health improvement through multi-level marketing. Among the products was the Flair air purifier. This segment moves around, and the Flair name is now owned by Vollera, another MLM company. Not surprisingly, the name isn’t used – perhaps to avoid confusion with earlier models sold through EcoQuest and listed as possibly hazardous.
The MLM connection means that these units are still around, with some MLM distributors stocking them and others stuck with some in the garage. Furthermore, warranties have not transferred when Vollera bought the rights to the line.4
And You’re OUT!
Even though Flair air purifiers are dead, the zombie-creating nature of the Internet keeps them alive in a sense. Old websites (some put up by MLM distributors) still tout the product and reviews still claim they are wonderful.5 Even the non-biased reviews are out of date, since they don’t mention the shakeup in ownership.6
Vollera itself does sell air purifiers, but not under the Flair name.7
Replacement filters are still available8 but parts and warranty work is not.