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A 13-year-old’s science project helped change California’s clean-air laws

When she was 13, Okana Jakpor tested her mom before and after using ozone-generating air purifiers and found that the air purifiers worsened her pulmonary functions. She confirmed these findings with other subjects.

“When doing research for my experiment, I read that the California Air Resources Board was writing a regulation to limit ozone emissions from indoor air purifiers. I decided to share my research with them as they were drafting the legislation, and I was asked to present it at their hearing in 2007. I was 13. People fighting the regulation were saying that there was no direct proof that ozone-generating air purifiers harmed people’s breathing. And I had direct proof. I don’t know if my research changed the end results of that legislation necessarily, but I think it made the process go more smoothly.”

“Science is science, kind of, no matter who does it or how old they are. I sort of just assumed that people would listen.”

And they did. California became the first state to ban ozone levels higher than .05 parts per million.

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