A huge amount of written articles and material on the internet on the indoors ozone usage makes conclusions with no substantiation and sound science arguments.
Some manufacturers say that the federal government approved ozone generators for usage in spaces with people, animals, and plants. But in fact, there is no agency that has approved this kind of devices for use in occupied places.
What is Ozone?
Ozone generators produce the gas ozone. Ozone is an inorganic little molecule that consists of 3 atoms of oxygen. Two of them creates the basic oxygen we breathe in. The third atom can detach from the molecule, and join to other substances, changing their chemical composition.
When ozone breaks down to dioxygen it gives rise to oxygen free radicals, which are highly reactive and unstable and capable of damaging many organic molecules. This way, the Ozone can turn into potentially toxic gas.
How is Ozone Harmful?
High levels of ozone produce a variety of harmful health effects for the upper respiratory tract and the lungs.
Ozone can react with organic material that makes up the body, and cause harmful consequences:
- decreased lung function;
- throat irritation;
- severe asthma symptoms;
- chest pain;
- shortness of breath;
- lung irritation;
- the sensitivity to respiratory infection.
People very differ in their susceptibility to ozone. Even healthy people can experience breathing problems when breathing in too much ozone.
There are additional risk factors:
- activities which raise breathing rates – exercising or intensive workout indoors;
- pre-existing lung diseases;
- very long duration of exposure.
Health Effects of Ozone – Is There “Good Ozone” and “Bad Ozone”?
Ozone is a gas with vastly different properties from oxygen.
There are 2 types of ozone:
- Ozone in the upper atmosphere (stratospheric) helps to protect us from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
- Ozone in the lower atmosphere presents the air we breathe in – can be harmful to the respiratory system if the harmful concentrations of ozone are accompanied by other pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, fine particles, and hydrocarbons. Ozone may combine with scented agents in cleaners to form a carcinogen formaldehyde.
If I Follow Manufacturers’ Directions, Can I be Harmed?
There are many brands of ozone generators on the market and they have different ozone output. The results of controlled studies show that in many circumstances, concentrations of ozone can be higher than standards even when a user follows the operating instructions.
It is very difficult to determine the actual ozone output because many different factors can change the result. That’s why you should choose only proven brands and the best ozone generators.
Why is it Difficult to Control Ozone Exposure with an Ozone Generator?
The real ozone output depends on many circumstances.
Concentrations will be higher:
- if a powerful generator several devices are used – the simultaneous use of two or more devices increases the output and this way increases the risk of excessive ozone exposure.
- if an air purifier is placed in a small room;
- if doors are closed;
- if the room has not so many materials and furnishings that adsorb ozone.
Can Ozone be Used in Unoccupied Spaces?
High concentrations of ozone in the air can be useful when there is nobody in the room. Ozone generators help to remove certain chemical or biological contaminants or odors. But the circumstances should be carefully controlled to ensure that there is no person or pet inside.
Ozone can affect plants, and damage materials – electrical wire coatings, rubber, and art work containing pigments and susceptible dyes.
Ozone generators are excellent helpers in removing odors and biological contaminants. They can harm your health but only if you stay in the room while it’s working. Leave the space when you turn the device on and wait for an hour before entering the room after the end of its work. This way you will get fresh air and won’t harm your health.