Ozone, also called activated or pure air, is comprised of three oxygen atoms (O3) whereas atmospheric oxygen is comprised of two oxygen atoms (O2). Ozone is created in nature when oxygen comes in contact with the electrical charge from lightening or ultraviolet radiation. Ozone will usually break down within 20 minutes and revert back to the more stable O2 and a single oxygen atom that is highly reactive. The singlet oxygen atom will oxidize many indoor gases, odors, and VOCs; hence the reason it is generated by many of today’s “air cleaners”. The single atom, however, will also react with the human body causing irritation to the eyes, mucous membranes, and airways. The American Lung Association has declared ozone a concern for human exposure and the EPA considers it to be a contaminant of concern for humans at short term exposure concentrations in excess of .08 ppm. Documented symptoms include decreases in lung function, aggravation of asthma, throat irritation and cough, chest pain and shortness of breath, inflammation of lung tissue, and a higher susceptibility to respiratory infection possibly resulting in bronchitis or pneumonia.
Nick Mayes AMT Environmental consultant.