Ever since the need to improve the quality of air being breathed in has increased, the use of air purifiers such as ozone generators has been on the rise. Ozone works by reacting with the pollutants in the air and turning them into water, carbon dioxide molecules and sometimes certain toxic substances. It is commonly used to purify the air of odors and smoke.
It, however, is a very controversial method of purifying the air, particularly indoor air. This is because of the many hazards and health risks that it poses. This is why you ought to be aware of all there is to know about the ozone generator air purifier before going on to clean your indoor air with the gas.
What is Ozone and why is it dangerous?
Ozone is an allotrope of oxygen. This means that it consists of three oxygen molecules instead of two as seen in the oxygen gas. Just like oxygen, it is also natural gas. You are most probably familiar with the term ‘ozone layer’. This layer is what protects us from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The ozone being produced from ozone generators differs from the one in the ozone layer. The latter is referred to as the ‘good’ ozone while the former is the ‘bad’ ozone. The third oxygen molecule in this generator-produced ozone is unstable as it is not closely bound to the other two molecules. This is why ozone gas is referred to as an unstable one. It is this instability that makes it a potentially toxic gas.
The third oxygen molecule detaches and can attach itself to whatever organic compound that is available, for example, those on your body. When it is also used in indoor spaces, the chances of you inhaling residues of the gas are very high. This comes with a host of health risks.
Health problems associated with ozone generators
How severe or not the impact of inhalation would have on an individual is dependent on the amount of ozone that they have been exposed to. While you might not see the effects of ozone on your skin, it gradually causes a lot of damage to your internal organs. It also worsens already existing health conditions like asthma. Some of the other health problems that you’re putting yourself at risk of if you make use of an ozone generator to clean your indoor air are
- Coughing: Even in the smallest of doses, Ozone irritates the throat and induces coughing. It also causes shortness of breath and chest pains.
- Damage to the lungs: Not only is ozone capable of impeding the normal growth and functioning of the lungs in children but it also speeds up the aging process in that of adults. In fact, scientists have stated that even after the indoor air has been cleared of ozone, the damage to the lungs continues.
- Impairment of the immune system: Inhaling ozone would compromise the health of your immune system. This would make you even more vulnerable to other respiratory and airborne diseases as your immune system would not be strong enough to ward them off.
- Worsening of lung diseases: Inhaling ozone does not only bring about new lung diseases. It also worsens preexisting ones such as bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma.
More reasons you should stay away from ozone generators
By now, you are most probably erasing all previous intentions of purifying your indoor air with ozone. Good choice. Just in case you still need some more convincing, it might interest you to know that it doesn’t stop at the health problems above alone. There are more reasons why you should steer clear of ozone generators and any air purifier that produces ozone as a by-product.
It is hard to predict exposure levels
Though the ozone gas is toxic, a safe limit of exposure still exists for it. However, it is very difficult, if not impossible to accurately predict what the exposure level in a particular space is. This is due to factors such as the size of the space, whether doors are open or closed, the amount of furniture in the room that the ozone can possibly react with, ventilation, and of course, how close or not an individual is to the ozone generator. When all this is put together, knowing whether the concentration of ozone in the room is within a safe limit or not is nearly impossible.
The chemical reactions could be dangerous
Ozone is often used to remove odors and other chemical contaminants from the air. When some of these chemicals come in contact with ozone, they tend to release by-products of their own. These by-products are organic chemicals that are just as harmful as the chemical contaminants being eliminated. This makes the whole air purification process counterproductive. When you combine this with all the health risks already associated with ozone, the damage is on a large scale.
It might not actually be effective
Lots of research has been conducted to discover how effective or not ozone generators really are when it comes to purifying the air. What has been found is that before ozone can thoroughly eliminate all odors and chemical contaminants in a room, it might take up to months, if not years. What’s more, the concentration of ozone considered to be the safe limit is unable to effectively get rid of biological pollutants like bacteria, mold, and viruses. If you are not going to be getting the full value for your money and for the inhalation of ozone, then why bother doing it at all?
What then is the verdict?
Without sugarcoating it, the verdict is that you should never use an ozone generator to clean your indoor air. Using it might come with some benefits but the cons far outweigh the pros so it’s best to steer clear of it. That aside, there are other air purifiers such as the HEPA filter, activated carbon filters and lots more that are much better alternatives. The safer method is always the better one, at least when it comes to air purifiers. They would improve the quality of the air you breathe in without compromising your good health!