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OZONE ... more like OH NO ZONE!



You might want to think twice before purchasing an ozone generator to clean the air in your home.
Many ozone generators are being sold as home air cleaners with the common selling point that treating the air with ozone will give you the same clean, fresh air you might experience after a rainstorm, a time when ozone levels on the ground are higher than normal.

Make no mistake about it: ozone in the Earth's stratosphere is protective and vital to the survival of this planet, but at ground level it is a toxic gas that actually can be harmful to the respiratory system. Ozone at ground level may cause respiratory irritation, reduce lung function, aggravate asthma and chronic lung diseases, and inflame lung cells. Repeated exposure to ozone may even cause permanent lung damage.

Many manufacturers and sellers of ozone generators boast that these products are safe; that their ozone output is enough to decontaminate the air while remaining within the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) established public health guidelines. Some don't refer to the ozone directly, instead calling it "activated oxygen" or similar names.
All this can be quite misleading. The Food and Drug Administration recommends a limit of no greater than 0.05 parts per million (ppm) of ozone in indoor air. While ozone gas can be used for air purification in some cases, small amounts of it are near useless. Ozone levels would have to be at least five to 10 times greater than the public health limit to have any immediate or lasting impact (researchers have found that ozone at levels above just 0.08 is a potent irritant). The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also found no evidence to suggest ozone at such low levels would decontaminate air. In fact, ozone in the air can react with household chemicals and gases to create even more harmful by-products.

The American Lung Association also advises it is possible that any ozone-emitting air cleaners that are not listed as safe by the FDA or do not prove they are within guidelines may release unsafe levels of ozone. Levels of the gas could be raised to even more harmful levels if ozone-emitting machines are used in small spaces, if interior doors are closed, or if there is not enough outside ventilation.

One of the biggest hazards of ozone exposure is the fact that physical damage can occur without any noticeable signs. Those frequently exposed to the gas may even find that their symptoms go away over time, while the gas continues to inflict damage on the respiratory system unbeknownst to the individual. In fact, the ability even to smell ozone decreases the longer one is exposed to it.

It should be noted that ozone gas is used effectively in some cases. It is sometimes used in very high concentrations to purify the air in rooms and spaces, though this is done when no inhabitants will be present for hours, giving the gas enough time to dissipate and break down into breathable oxygen. It also is commonly used in municipal water filtration as a safer and more effective alternative to chlorine (once the gas dissipates, no trace of it remains in the water). However, these uses do not suggest in any way that regular exposure to ozone in the air you breathe is safe.

PureAirProducts.com intends to sell products that will better your air quality and protect your health, so we do not sell ozone-generating air purifiers. Remember the most effective methods for reducing indoor air pollution are to eliminate the sources of pollution and provide adequate outdoor air ventilation combined with the use of safe and effective air purification technology.

You may wish to visit the EPA's web page devoted to indoor air cleaners for further information: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airclean.html.

 



 

 

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