Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, indoor air quality (IAQ) has become a subject of great concern. IAQ and infectious disease scientists discovered early on that COVID is airborne. That means removing virus-laden particles from the air or deactivating the viruses on particles can prevent disease and save lives. But as with everything, the devil is in the details.
Some methods for dealing with contaminated air work better than others. Some products are outright scams. Some may or may not provide a benefit. Others have been proven to work. Filtration, ventilation with outdoor air, and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation are methods that work. If you combine them with source control, airtightness, and moisture control, you’ll have a solid, layered approach to indoor air quality.
One of the great things about the pandemic is that so many IAQ experts were public in sharing their knowledge. Dr. Marwa Zaatari is one of those experts. I interviewed her for my article on electronic air cleaners, and she really knows her stuff. She’s publicized a lot of the research on electronic air cleaners that are in the iffy category.
Goliath sues David
Unfortunately, doing so has gotten her in legal trouble with a large company that sells ionizers, one of those electronic air cleaners that I’ve said is best to avoid. Global Plasma Solutions (GPS) is suing her for $180 million. Why? Because she’s been pointing out that independent researchers have found results that don’t support GPS’s claims.
This is intimidation, pure and simple. It seems the company would rather keep the results of independent research out of the public eye as much as possible. In addition to suing Dr. Zaatari for $180 million, GPS is also suing Elsevier, one of the largest publishers of peer-reviewed scientific research.
Two years ago, Dr. Zaatari was doing her thing and helping a lot of people understand indoor air quality and the effectiveness of different methods to achieve it. Over the last year, she’s gotten very quiet after GPS filed the lawsuit against her.
Help Marwa Zaatari fight the lawsuit
When large corporations sue individuals for obscene amounts of money, they often do so with impunity. They don’t need to win in court to achieve their objectives. By forcing someone with limited resources to fight a large corporation, they often win just by getting the individual to back down.
In this case, Dr. Zaatari is not yielding. And you can help. She has set up a GoFundMe page to fight this lawsuit. As I write this, 758 people have donated over $135,000. That’s great! But her goal is $400,000. It takes a lot of money to fight off a large corporation with deep pockets. Please read her story on the GoFundMe page, and the supporting documents and links. And then donate to her cause, if you can.
Intimidation isn’t the answer
I don’t normally post this kind of appeal in my articles, but this fight is important. Large corporations have the means to stifle discussion and publicity of information they deem unfavorable to their products. (I’ve had my own experience with this.) They can intimidate. They can shut people up. They also can mess with people’s lives. As Zaatari wrote on her GoFundMe page, “These past few years have taken a considerable toll on my emotional wellbeing and that of my family’s.”
If you do an online search for “Global Plasma Solutions lawsuit,” you’ll find that most of the results are related to lawsuits against GPS. If their products really were so great, would they be facing both individual and class action lawsuits? And what does it say about your product when you sue an indoor air quality expert?
If you able, please help Marwa Zaatari fight this lawsuit.
Allison A. Bailes III, PhD is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the founder of Energy Vanguard in Decatur, Georgia. He has a doctorate in physics and writes the Energy Vanguard Blog. He also has a book on building science coming out in the fall of 2022. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.
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