Ozone oxidation is the most controversial type of air cleaners. Manufacturers want us to believe that ozone is a “natural” gas, it is safe or even beneficial for our health. In reality, this is far from true.
The oxygen we breathe consists of two oxygen atoms (O2). Ozone is composed of three oxygen atoms (O3). Ozone is a very toxic gas, strong oxidant, chemically reactive. In fact, it is an air pollutant itself, and instead of adding it into our indoor environment, we need to get rid of it. It tends to react with all the chemicals in the air. When dissolved in water, it forms bleach hydrogen peroxide, and the same happens when it comes into contact with moisture in your eyes, nose and lungs. This explains its negative effects to human health: respiratory problems, chest pains, coughing and sneezing, throat irritation, watery eyes, and others.
Another problem is its long half life in the air – up to three days. As it has short half-life in water (half an hour), it is safe for water purification, some manufacturers use this fact to mislead customers and convince them in its safety for indoor air purification as well.
The negative influence of ozone on human health has been extensively studied and reported over the years, and air purifier manufacturers, aware of that, have started playing with terminology, misleading the unaware customers. Ozone generating technology can also be called as: "energized oxygen", "trivalent oxygen", "activated oxygen", "allotropic oxygen", "saturated oxygen", "super oxygen" and others. Be careful when you hear any of these sneaky names.
Manufacturers also often play on the fact that ozone is used in medical institutions, for treatment of asthma and other respiratory diseases. But ozone purification and ozone medication are two absolutely different technologies. Air ozonators emit ozone that is unsuitable for therapy purposes.
Improper technology implementation in air ozonators can also result in toxic by-products in the air. For example, ozone reacts with air fresheners and household cleaning products that have lemon or pine smell. This reaction results in emission of formaldehyde into the air. Be careful not to use those in the same space with an air ozonator.
Don’t get me wrong, ozone oxidation IS a powerful purifying technology, especially for treating mold spores, odors, chemical pollutants, some microorganisms. But to reach high effectiveness level, the amount of ozone in the air should reach 50 times the safe concentration limit. This is why this technology is unacceptable for living spaces.
Some manufacturers honestly admit the presence of an ozonator technology in an air cleaner. They provide advice on using it in a safe way that won’t harm their health. But others do not, they mislead their customers with sneaky terminology and lead to potential harmful use.
If you have an air ozonator in your home, you don’t need to go and throw it away right now. With some precautions, you can get use of this device without damage to your health.