Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Ozone Health Effects

Ozone Health Effects

Ozone [: an inorganic molecule with the chemical formula O3
It is a pale blue gas with a distinctively pungent smell. It is an allotrope 02 of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope, breaking down in the lower atmosphere to dioxygen

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done extensive research of the most credible scientific information available on the effects of ozone and the devices that generate ozone. This can be found at www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html.

What is ozone?

Ozone is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen. Two atoms of oxygen form the basic oxygen molecule 02— the oxygen we breathe that is essential to life. The third oxygen atom can detach from the ozone molecule, and re-attach to molecules of other substances, thereby altering their chemical composition. It is this ability to react with other substances that forms the basis of manufacturers’ claims.

Why is Ozone Dangerous?

There is no “safe” level of ozone. For many people, even at the 50 parts per billion of ozone allowed by the EPA, exposure far exceeds the tolerance level.Ozone is a potent lung irritant and exposure to elevated levels is a contributor to the exacerbation of lung disease; it is especially dangerous for persons with asthma and other chronic lung diseases, children and the elderly.

Ozone is a tiny molecule which is composed of three oxygen atoms. It is highly reactive which makes it an unstable and potentially toxic gas. Ground-level ozone is considered to be a major component of smog which plagues larger cities during the summertime and has been tied to a variety of potential health risks.

Health Effects of Ozone

The EPA has reported there is a variety of health effects associated with high levels of ozone. This may include decreased lung function, throat irritation, severe asthma symptoms, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, irritation of lung tissue, and the higher sensitivity to respiratory infection. They went on to note that there were additional risk factors which can perpetuate the side effects of ozone such as undertaking activities which raise breathing rates (such as exercising indoors), certain pre-existing lung diseases, and greater duration of exposure.

Why You Should Avoid Air Purifiers that Produce Ozone

Not only is ozone potentially dangerous to your health, it may not even work at all. Below are four reasons why you should never use an air purifier that produces ozone.

Ozone Generators May Not Work at All
Some manufacturers suggest that ozone will render nearly every chemical contaminant in the home harmless by producing a chemical reaction. This is incredibly misleading because a thorough review of scientific research has shown that in order for many of the dangerous chemicals found indoors to be eliminated the chemical reaction process may take months or even years. Other studies have also (PDF) noted that ozone cannot effectively remove carbon monoxide or from outside. If used at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone applied to indoor air pollution does not effectively remove viruses, mold, bacteria, or other biological pollutants.

Chemical Reaction Can Be Dangerous
Even if ozone generators were proven to be effective at eliminating these chemicals, there are certain side effects everyone must be aware of. Many of the chemicals ozone reacts to results in a variety of harmful by-products. For example, when ozone was mixed with chemicals from new carpet in a laboratory setting, the ozone reduced many of the chemicals but created a variety of dangerous organic chemicals in the air. While the target chemicals were reduced, the dangerous byproducts rendered the process moved.

Ozone Generators Do Not Remove Particulates
A third factor to consider when looking at ozone generators is that they do not remove particulates such as dust or pollen from the air. This includes the particles which are primarily responsible for allergic reactions. To combat this, some ozone generators include an ionizer which disperses negatively charged ions into the air. In recent analysis’s, this process was found to be less competent in the removal of air-borne molecules of dust, smoke, pollen, and mold spores than HEPA filters and electrostatic precipitators.

It Is Impossible to Predict Exposure Levels
The EPA notes that it is increasingly difficult to determine the actual concentration of ozone produced by an ozone generator because so many different factors come into play. Concentrations will be higher if more powerful devices used in smaller spaces.

Whether or not the interior doors are closed rather than open will affect concentrations as well. Additional factors which affect concentration levels include how many materials and furnishings are in the room to react with ozone, the level of outdoor air ventilation, and the proximity of a person to the ozone generating device.


Available scientific evidence shows that, at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone is generally ineffective at controlling indoor air pollution. In the process of reacting with chemicals indoors, ozone can produce other chemicals that themselves can be irritating and corrosive.

An odour is an invisible gas, and so it can permeate any material or crevice. Many odours are caused by micro-organisms such as bacteria, mould, and mildew. Ozone generators will not eliminate particulates, such as dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, pet dander, and other allergens.

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