Are you deciding between air purifiers? Many commercial and industrial air quality machines generate ozone, or O3, as its primary way of decontamination.
Ozone is the principal element of the ozone layer, and it’s essential to life on earth.
So why don’t you want it in your home?
Ozone and your body
Ozone is used to deodorize, disinfect, and remove irritating particles in indoor environments, in both commercial and residential settings.
When inhaled, ozone damages the mucous and respiratory tissues in animals, plants, and humans, above concentrations of 100 ppb (parts per billion).
Ground level ozone (that is, anywhere accessible by living beings) harms lung function and irritates the respiratory system. Exposure to ozone, as well as the pollutants that produce it, is linked to premature death, asthma, bronchitis, and heart attacks.
Uses of ozone
Ozone has a number of important industrial and commercial uses. But it’s not safe to use in residences or occupied spaces.
Ozone is used to disinfect laundry in hospitals and care homes, disinfect drinking water, sanitize swimming pools and spas, bleach fabrics, and kill insects in stored grain.
For air purification, ozone generators spread ozone throughout an enclosed (and unoccupied) space, which goes on to oxidise unwanted chemicals and contaminants in the air.
The trouble with ozone
While ozone-generating machines continue to be commercially sold, there are a number of reasons why you should look elsewhere for an air purifier.
1. Ozone is not effective at removing airborne contaminants
The United States Environmental Protection Agency declared that there is "evidence to show that at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone is not effective at removing many odor-causing chemicals" or "viruses, bacteria, mold, or other biological pollutants".
While studies show ozone can be effective at removing airborne contaminants, these require high concentrations and long periods of time to achieve those results. In fact, one study found that it took months to remove some chemicals from a space, even with a high concentration of ozone.
But in-home and residential ozone generators do not (or should not) create more ozone than to exceed public health standards of 0.70 ppm. At this concentration, ozone is ineffective in removing viruses, mold, and biological pollutants from the air.
2. Ozone does not remove particulate matter
Particulate matter in residential spaces is an irritant and cause of asthma, lung irritation, bronchitis, and allergies.
In industrial spaces, strong odours can be the result of airborne particulate matter, which reach the olfactory senses and can be a nuisance.
Ozone is not effective, at any concentration, in removing particulate matter. Ozone generators often compensate for this by including an ionizer, which disperses negatively charged ions into the air. Ionizers have been shown to be less effective than HEPA filters.
3. It’s high-risk, low reward
Ozone has a number of harmful health effects. But its benefits don’t offset its harmful effects.
Many people find that ozone generators leave their home with a “mountain fresh” scent. In fact, ozone has been shown to dull olfactory senses because it harms the mucous membrane inside the nose. That “mountain fresh” scent is actually be nasal irritation.
Ozone is the primary component of smog. It’s irritating and harmful to humans, animals, plants, and even some parts of your home, like carpeting and upholstery.
With the harmful effects of ozone and its relative ineffectiveness, it should not be the first choice for those looking for a safe air purifier. There are more effective and safer choices for industrial, commercial, and residential settings.
So what do you do instead?
Hydroxyl generators are a great alternative to ozone air purifiers. They’re safe to run in occupied spaces, they’re highly effective at treating both surfaces and surrounding air, and they don’t require all air to run through a filter. That means it’s faster and more efficient than other purifiers.
An amazing thing about hydroxyl generators is their ability to penetrate porous surfaces to eliminate bacteria, mold, and other contaminants. When dealing with intense indoor issues like cigarette odours, new material off-gassing, or odour as a result of contamination, hydroxyl generators are probably the best choice for safe and effective purification.
You don’t need ozone to clear odor and contaminants from your home. Try hydroxyls!