Complying with the Air Cleaner Regulation: Frequently Asked Questions
In the case of any discrepancy between the information provided below and the air cleaner regulation (including the required test standards and related documents), the official documents will be controlling.
- About California's Air Cleaner Regulation (AB 2276)
- California's Regulation for Limiting Ozone Emissions from Air Cleaning Devices
- Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers
1. Who must comply with the regulation?
The regulation applies to any person or business that manufactures, sells, supplies, offers for sale, or introduces into commerce in California, indoor air cleaning devices. This includes, but is not limited to, both medical and non-medical devices, used or intended for use in occupied spaces such as homes, businesses, vehicles, schools, etc. This includes air cleaners advertised on Internet web pages in English, and industrial-use devices.
2. Does the regulation apply to air cleaning devices that are manufactured in California, but are only sold outside of California?
Because the devices are made in California, they are subject to the regulation. But, because they are not sold in California, they would not have to meet the standard specified in section 94802 and would not have to be tested and certified. However,if the non-certified devices show up in commerce and for sale in California, they would be in violation of the regulation and fines could be imposed or other enforcement actions taken. Any device that is advertised or sold via the Internet or by catalog that has not been tested and certified, and does not have an industrial use exemption, must display the following advisory in a prominent place on the primary web pages, catalog pages, and related materials where such a device is advertised or displayed for sale: “Does not meet California air cleaner regulation requirements; cannot be shipped to California.”
3. What is considered an “indoor air cleaning device”?
An “indoor air cleaning device” is an energy-consuming product used to reduce the concentration of airborne pollutants, including but not limited to allergens, microbes (e.g., bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms), dusts, particles, smoke, fumes, gases or vapors and odorous chemicals, from the air inside an enclosed space. Such products include, but are not necessarily limited to, portable devices of any size used for cleaning the air nearest a person (e.g., worn or carried by the person), in a room of any size, in a whole house or building, or in a motor vehicle; and stand-alone devices designed to be attached to a wall, ceiling, post or other indoor surface. These may include portable mechanical air cleaners (e.g., those with pleated filters only), ionizers, electrostatic precipitators, photocatalytic oxidation air cleaners, plasma cluster devices, corona discharge or UV ozone generators, and other technologies. A product with a primary purpose other than air cleaning, but includes an air cleaner or a component that is claimed to clean the air, is also considered an indoor air cleaning device.
4. When did the compliance dates begin, and what has been required since that start date?
- The regulation went into effect in 2008, and air cleaner models marketed or sold in California have had to be tested and certified as required by the regulation since 2010.
- Since 2011, all packaging has been required to show the certification label, which must be printed on the package in a location other than the bottom of the packaging.
- In October, 2020, the regulation was amended to:
- Eliminate the exemption for electronic in-duct air cleaners, which now must be tested for ozone emissions and certified before October 1, 2022.
- Require label text to now read: "Meets California ozone emissions limit: CARB certified." Manufacturers have until October 1, 2021 to revise the label text to the new language.
- Change the requirements for manufacturers of air cleaners (outlined in sections 94801(19) and 94803(a) of the regulation): Any indoor air cleaning device for non-industrial use that is advertised or sold via the Internet, but has not been certified by CARB, must display the following advisory in a prominent place on the primary advertising page: "Does not meet California air cleaner regulation requirements: Cannot be shipped to California". This new requirement must be met by October 1, 2021.
5. Are any air cleaners excluded or exempt from the regulation?
Yes. Air cleaners manufactured, marketed, and used solely for certain specified industrial uses outlined in section 94801(19) of regulation, are exempted from the testing and ozone testing certification requirements in the regulation.
However, manufacturers must:
A) Label air cleaners marketed solely for the exempted industrial purposes with an advisory that reads: “For industrial use only. Use only in unoccupied spaces. Health hazard: Emits ozone." This advisory must be clearly visible and placed near the power switch or electrical connection on the device.
B) Submit documentation to CARB that the manufacturer has provided -- to all of their known distributors, retailers, and sellers who supply, offer to sell, or sell in California -- notification of California's air regulation, including a copy of the regulation itself. More information about how notification requirements can be met are available on the Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers page.
6. What does “industrial use” or “industrial application” mean?
“Industrial use” or “industrial application” means the use of ozone for the following purposes or conditions:
- Destruction of microbes on produce in an agricultural processing plant, refrigerated transport truck, or related facility, provided no people are physically present;
- Chemical oxidation and disinfection in the electronics, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and chemical industries, provided no people are physically present;
- Odor and smoke control in the hotel industry, for intermittent and temporary use, carried out by trained personnel, and provided no people are physically present;
- Mold, odor, fire and smoke damage remediation services, carried out by trained personnel, and provided no people are physically present;
- Odor control in the motor vehicle reconditioning and detailing industry, carried out by trained personnel, and provided no people are physically present;
- Odor control in mausoleums, carried out by trained personnel, and provided no people are physically present.
Ozone generators are not permitted for use in other applications because of the risk of exposure to unhealthy levels of ozone.
7. What is an “in-duct system”?
An “in-duct system” is an air cleaning device designed, marketed, and used solely as an electrically connected, fully physically integrated part of a central heating, air conditioning or ventilating system (HVAC). Typically such systems are dependent on the HVAC system for airflow or ignition, and sometimes for power. Electronic in-duct air cleaning devices are subject to the air cleaning regulation and must be certified prior to sale in California.
Air cleaning devices that have a cord that is plugged into an electrical outlet and placed into HVAC ductwork are considered portable air cleaning devices.
8. Who is required to submit an application for certification?
Each manufacturer of an indoor air cleaning device that will be used, or sold for use, in California is required to submit an application for certification to CARB. Alternatively, a professional association or certification organization may submit the application on behalf of the manufacturer, as long as all required information and signatures from the manufacturer and test laboratory are included. More information about the air cleaner certification process is available on the Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers page.
Testing and Certification
9. Is there a fee for submitting an application?
No, there is no fee for submitting an application. However, applicants must pay the costs of testing, which is arranged with the testing laboratories.
10. How do I apply for certification?
There are 3 steps for getting an air cleaner certified by CARB, plus a labeling requirement for certified devices being marketed and sold:
- Request an application form and application number from CARB by sending an email to: email@example.com. Please review the application instructions carefully before filling out the form:
- Have the device tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) for electrical safety, and for ozone emissions if it's an electronic air cleaning device. Please see the subsections below for information about NRTLs.
- Submit the signed application and supporting documents to CARB via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the complete electrical safety report, ozone test report (where applicable), Authorization to Mark (ATM), owner's manual, Directory Listing, electrical schematic, and an exploded parts diagram labeled in English with the brand name and model number listed. Once your application is complete, CARB has 30 days to finish the initial review.
- Correctly label and mark air cleaning devices:
- Certified devices must be labeled in accordance with Section 94806 of the regulation. Labels for non-medical air cleaning devices must be at least 1 inch by 2 inches in size, easily readable, and shall state 'Meets California ozone emissions limit: CARB certified' in bold type whose uppercase letters are not less than 3 mm high. This label should be printed on the package in a location other than the bottom of the packaging. Labels for medical devices shall be in compliance with federal law, including Section 801.415 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations and shall also state "CARB certified." Sample Label.
- All air cleaners must also bear the listing mark or certification mark for ANSI/UL Standard 507, 867, or other appropriate standard as specified in the regulation, consistent with the requirements of the appropriate authorizing Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.
More information about the air cleaner certification process is available on the Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers page.
11. What tests are required?
The tests required depend on the type of air cleaning device submitted for certification.
a) All portable electronic air cleaners (e.g., electrostatic precipitators (ESPs), ionizers photocatalytic oxidation devices, some UV devices, and all other air cleaners that do not meet the definition of “mechanical filtration only” below) must be tested to meet electrical safety and ozone, by the UL867 standard. This standard includes electrical safety requirements, and Section 40 of the Standard includes the required ozone emissions test.
b) All portable air cleaners using mechanical filtration only must meet UL Standard 507, a standard for electrical safety that does not include an ozone emissions test. “Mechanical filtration only” air cleaners are those that remove contaminants from air only via filtration through a physical barrier using non-electronic techniques (i.e., where air is forced through a filter medium). Materials used in the construction of the filter media include substances such as activated charcoal, paper, foam, synthetics, ceramics, or natural fibers. Mechanical filtration devices that include a UVC bulb that does not emit light below 240 nm wavelength must meet the electrical safety requirements of UL507, but are not required to undergo ozone testing as long as the testing laboratory verifies the wavelength of light emitted from the bulb, as well as the brand name and model number of the bulb.
c) Electronic in-duct air cleaners are required to be tested for ozone emissions to the CSA Standard for Electrostatic Air Cleaners, CSA C22.2 No.187:20 (including those using UVGI bulbs with/without mechanical filtration). However, some electronic in-duct devices may be tested to standard UL867, if deemed appropriate by CARB staff.
c) Dual-function air cleaning devices, which are devices that contain an electronic air cleaning component in addition to their primary purpose, must be tested for electrical safety to the ANSI/UL standard most appropriate for their primary purpose, and to Section 40 of UL867 for ozone emissions. For example, a portable air conditioner that contains an ionizer air cleaning feature would be tested to ANSI/UL Standard 484 (Room Air Conditioners) for electrical safety, and to Section 40 of Standard 867 for an ozone emissions test. Other accepted electrical safety tests for different dual function devices are found in section 94801 of the regulation. Note that the manufacturer of a multi-function device, such as an air conditioner containing an ionizer, must have the device tested and certified by CARB even if the manufacturer does not advertise the air cleaner function.
The Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers page has further information about testing and the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs).
12. Must every model be tested?
No. Only one representative model of an indoor air cleaning device within a model group as defined in the regulation must be evaluated under the test method. Note that “model group” is not the same as “model family”.
13. What is a “model group”?
A “model group” is comprised of indoor air cleaning devices sharing the same design, operational features, device output, and performance characteristics, and made by the same manufacturer. Units in the same model group may be marketed under different brand names.
Units that differ only in decorative treatments such as color, remote control, types of on-off switches or other cosmetic features not related to ozone output typically will belong to the same model group.
Units with different power levels or sources, different housing, varying types of filters, or other potentially significant differences are typically not in the same model group.
“Model family” is a broader term used in the industry and is not the same as the regulation’s definition of “model group”. Manufacturers are encouraged to review their product lines carefully, and if they have any questions regarding whether their models comprise more than one model group, they are encouraged to contact CARB.
14. Who can conduct the tests?
Testing of indoor air cleaning devices must be conducted by a laboratory currently recognized as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The laboratory must be approved by OSHA to perform testing for the entire ANSI/UL Standard 867, ANSI/UL Standard 507, or other ANSI/UL Standard for a multi-function device, whichever is applicable.
Although other NRTLs are able to conduct relevant electrical safety tests, only UL and Intertek are approved to conduct the ozone emissions test.
CARB is currently in the process of certifying a laboratory to conduct the ozone emissions test for electronic in-duct air cleaning devices.
The Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers page has further information about testing and the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs).
15. Does the same Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) have to conduct both the electrical safety testing AND the Section 40 ozone testing required by ANSI/UL Standard 867?
The electrical safety and ozone tests can be conducted by different NRTLs if that is more convenient for the manufacturer, but the Section 40 ozone test must be conducted by an NRTL that has been reviewed, audited, and certified by CARB. NRTLs may, but are not obligated to, accept test data from another NRTL. Therefore, manufacturers must be sure one laboratory will accept the other laboratory’s data and provide the authorization to mark. All certified devices must carry the mark of the responsible laboratory.
The Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers page has further information about testing and the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs).
16. Who will decide and verify that an air cleaner is a “mechanical filtration only” device?
CARB will verify that an air cleaner is a mechanical-filtration-only or UVGI air cleaning device that is not subject to ozone emission testing, based on review of the product design specifications and other documentation submitted by the manufacturer, and laboratory certification under ANSI/UL 507. Send all relevant materials to email@example.com and ask for a "mechanical filtration only" review.
Labeling and Marking Requirements
17. What are the specific labeling requirements?
The regulation specifies that a “label” is an area on the product packaging containing the required certification statement in an easily readable format, separate from unrelated text. All packaging of air cleaners sold in California must show the required label printed on the product package:
- Labels for certified non-medical air cleaning devices must be at least 1 inch by 2 inches in size, easily readable, and shall state 'Meets California ozone emissions limit: CARB certified.' in bold type whose uppercase letters are not less than 3 mm high. This label should be printed on the package in a location other than the bottom of the packaging. Labels for medical devices shall be in compliance with federal law, including Section 801.415 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations and shall also state "CARB certified." Sample Label.
- In addition, all air cleaners must also bear the listing mark or certification mark for ANSI/UL Standard 507, 867, or other appropriate standard as specified in the regulation, consistent with the requirements of the appropriate authorizing Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.
- Air cleaners marketed solely for the exempted industrial purposes must be labeled with an advisory that reads: “For industrial use only. Use only in unoccupied spaces. Health hazard: Emits ozone." This advisory must be clearly visible and placed near the power switch or electrical connection on the device.
- Any (non-exempted) indoor air cleaning device that is advertised or sold via the Internet, but has not been certified by CARB, must display the following advisory in a prominent place on the primary advertising page: "Does not meet California air cleaner regulation requirements: cannot be shipped to California". This information should be provided to the consumer prior to entering their purchase information.
18. What about non-certified products sold via the Internet or catalogs – Can they be shipped to a California customer?
a) Air cleaners not exempt as industrial use:
- Only products that are certified by CARB can be shipped to a California customer.
- Any indoor air cleaning device not for exempted industrial use that is advertised or sold via the Internet or catalog, but that has not been certified by CARB, must display the following advisory in a prominent place on the primary web pages, catalog pages, and related materials where such a device is advertised or displayed for sale: “Does not meet California air cleaner regulation requirements; cannot be shipped to California.”
- Enforcement actions will be taken if such devices are shipped to or sold in California.
b) Air cleaners exempt as industrial use as defined by the regulation: For products exempted for specific industrial uses as defined in the regulation, the product must be labeled using the language specified in Section 94803 of the regulation, “For industrial use only. Use only in unoccupied spaces. Health hazard: Emits ozone." CARB reserves the right to determine whether an air cleaner is exempt, so we strongly encourage manufacturers to ask us to review any air cleaner believed to be exempt. Send all relevant materials to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for an exemption review.
19. Are there safety certification and listing mark requirements?
Yes. The safety certification or listing mark for the test standard used by the testing laboratory must be displayed on each certified air cleaner. Both medical and non-medical indoor air cleaning devices must show this information on the device. For more information please see Section 94806(d) of the Regulation.
20. When will I be notified whether or not my product has been certified?
After an application has been accepted as complete, the ARB will provide written notification of certification approval or disapproval within 30 days. These time periods may be extended by CARB’s Executive Officer if deemed necessary because of extenuating circumstances. In some instances, CARB may complete the reviews for application acceptance and approval simultaneously within the first 30 days; in such cases the manufacturer will receive just one letter stating both that the application is complete and the device is approved for certification. It remains the manufacturer’s responsibility to submit an application sufficiently in advance of the needed approval date to allow for CARB’s normal review process. CARB reviews applications in the order they are received and cannot expedite reviews under most circumstances.
Notifications to Distributors of Air Cleaning Devices
21. If I am a manufacturer, must I notify my product distributors, retailers, and sellers about the regulation?
Only manufacturers of uncertified indoor air cleaning devices that are manufactured, sold, supplied, offered for sale, or introduced into commerce in California, in accordance with the industrial use exemptions outlined in section 94803(a) of the regulation, are required to submit documentation to CARB that they provided to all of their known distributors, retailers, and sellers copies of the final regulation. More information about how notification requirements can be met are available on the Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers page.
Manufacturers of certified air cleaners are not required to carry-out the notification requirement, which is a change that went into effect on October 1st, 2020.
22. Who is a distributor?
A “distributor” is defined in the regulation as “any person to whom an indoor air cleaning device is sold or supplied for the purposes of resale or distribution in commerce” (section 94801[a]). Even if a distributor starts out just as an end-user, they may be, or become, a distributor. Factors to consider, for example, would be whether they place multiple orders, order multiple units at a time, have a business license or commercial identification, have an obvious commercial relationship with another organization, and so on. If it appears that they may re-sell the device, they need to be included in manufacturers’ notifications.
23. I am a manufacturer of uncertified ozone generators sold in California for exempted industrial uses. How should I notify my distributors, retailers, and sellers about the regulation?
Notification about the regulation must be made in writing by mail, or email.
As indicated in Section 94807 of the regulation, acceptable documentation submitted to CARB consists of the mailed notification plus the associated mailing list with complete contact information for each addressee. Acceptable documentation of an email notification includes a copy of the email and the complete contact information for each email addressee. Such information will be kept confidential upon request as specified in Sections 91000 et seq. of title 17, chapter 1, subchapter 4 (Disclosure of Records) of the California Code of Regulations.
For new distributors, retailers, and sellers who become known to manufacturers after manufacturers initially notified their distributors: Manufacturers must provide similar notice to them and provide the distributors' contact information to CARB. There is no specific time limit specified in the regulation for future notifications of new distributors, retailers, and sellers. However, notification should be made as soon as possible after entering into a business relationship with a new distributor, retailer, or seller, and prior to distribution and sale of air cleaners by that entity. It is in the manufacturer’s best interest to notify them as soon as possible. It is suggested that documentation of such notification be submitted to CARB on a quarterly basis. If no new distributors, retailers or sellers have been added during a quarter, no notification to CARB is required.
More information about how notification requirements can be met are available on the Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers page.
24. What if a distributor or seller is unwilling to provide, or allow the manufacturer to provide, their contact information? What is the manufacturer’s obligation, and what is the distributor’s/seller’s obligation?
Manufacturers, and in turn distributors, sellers, and retailers, are obligated to comply with all aspects of the regulation. Manufacturers of air cleaners/ozone generators exempted for industrial use must provide CARB with whatever contact information they have for all known distributors, retailers, and sellers. Manufacturers would be in violation of the regulation if they did not provide the necessary information to CARB. The notification requirement exists to assure that all parties in the distribution and retail chains are informed about the regulation.
It is a violation to sell a noncertified device in California for other than exempted industrial usage. If the distributor or seller is concerned about privacy, the regulation does contain a provision that contact information may be kept confidential upon request.
25. If an uncertified air cleaner product is sold via the internet and sent to a distribution center, and the manufacturer does not know where the air cleaners go from the distribution center, what distribution list or contact information does the manufacturer supply to CARB?
In this case, the manufacturer would provide contact information for the distribution center, and would not need to provide contact information for individual purchasers, unless those purchasers can in turn sell or distribute the air cleaner. For internet sales, we recommend that sellers require the purchaser to specify whether the purchased air cleaner is for personal use or for resale. In short, the manufacturer is required to provide the contact information for all of its known distributors, sellers, and retailers, but not the end-users.
26. Does CARB's regulation, regarding the provision for manufacturers to deem certain information confidential (such as contact information of distributors), prevent CARB from sending letters to a manufacturer's distributors?
No, CARB can send letters to distributors, sellers, and retailers if needed. Any communication sent to a distributor does become a separate record that can be requested by a member of the public. However, the distributor’s name and contact information would be removed or blocked if confidentiality had been requested.
27. Once my product(s) is (are) certified, how will consumers be informed?
Consumers will be informed by the product package label and inclusion in CARB’s list of Certified Air Cleaning Devices.
28. Must I maintain records of my product certification?
Yes. Manufacturers, distributors, retailers, sellers, and test laboratories are required to maintain records related to this regulation for at least three years. Relevant records include distributor notification materials, and production, quality control, sales, or testing records for products sold, supplied, offered for sale, introduced into commerce, or manufactured for sale within California. Such records must be made available to CARB upon request. Such information will be kept confidential by CARB upon request as specified in Sections 91000 et seq. of title 17, chapter 1, subchapter 4 (Disclosure of Records) of the California Code of Regulations.
29. Are there any penalties for non-compliance?
CARB is responsible for ensuring that air cleaners sold in California are certified as having been tested and found to emit no more than 50 ppb of ozone, and that they also comply with other requirements of the air cleaner regulation.
Enforcement of the regulation ensures that ozone emissions are controlled to protect public health, and that there is a level playing field among manufacturers and the sellers of air cleaners. There are a variety of actions CARB can take such as searching the Internet, reviewing submittals from manufacturers, conducting random inspections of retail outlets throughout California, and purchasing air cleaners offered for sale (through retail outlets, direct marketing, or the Internet). Inspectors will look for compliance with labeling requirements, and purchased air cleaners may be tested according to the ozone testing protocol specified in the regulation (ANSI/UL Standard 867). Records documenting a manufacturer’s efforts to inform distributors and other sellers about the air cleaner regulation may also be examined.
After initial investigation, if an air cleaning device is found to be in violation of the regulation, CARB may seek additional information from the manufacturer. For failure to comply with any provision of the regulation, a notice of violation may be issued, an application for certification may be denied, or a certification may be revoked or suspended. If the Executive Officer determines that a violation of the regulation has occurred, he or she may order that the product(s) involved in or affected by the violation be recalled and replaced with product(s) that complies(comply) with the regulation. All other penalties authorized by law also apply. Appropriate civil or administrative action can be taken by CARB to enforce notices of violation issued under this regulation. Civil penalties can be imposed as provided in state law (Health and Safety Code [HSC] sections 42402 et seq.) such as penalties of $1000 per day, up to $1,000,000 per day, for violations, depending on the specific circumstances of the violation. Criminal cases may be referred to the appropriate prosecuting agency and would be subject to penalties under Health and Safety Code sections 42400 et seq.
More information is available on the Air Cleaner Information for Manufacturers page.
For additional information about California's Regulation for Limiting Ozone Emissions from Air Cleaning Devices, certification process, and questions regarding potentially exempt products, please email email@example.com or call (916) 445-0753.
To receive email notification of all notices given or actions taken related to implementation of the regulation, please subscribe to the Air Cleaner Regulation topic.