We've all seen the headlines, "Ozone advisory. You are advised not to go outside, especially the old and young, due to high ozone smog levels". That's the headline, the sound bite that we remember. We've also heard ozone called a "toxic gas" by health professionals, seen it vilified in billboards asking us to "O-liminate Ozone" by filling up our cars at night instead of during hot summer days. Yet we've also heard that ozone is used to purify municipal water, treat cancer in many countries of the world, and get rid of smoke and mold damage when used by trained restoration contractors. So what gives? Is ozone smog, pollution, a toxic gas or is it a water and air cleaner?
The answer to that question is more complex than a simple "yes" or "no". Ozone, like oxygen, like water, like hydrogen or any other naturally occurring thing can be harmful or beneficial depending on how it is used. Many things that are "good" can kill us in excess. Water comes to mind. You've probably heard of people dying from drinking too much water too fast yet staying properly hydrated is essential for good health. Does that make water "toxic"? Their is a long list of "good" things that in excess can kill us, and ozone is one of them.
Everyone can agree that breathing high levels of ozone is detrimental to our health, especially our lungs. What about breathing low levels of ozone? Can injecting small amounts of ozone into the air actually promote good health? The answer is yes according to studies conducted at the Academy of Medical Sciences in Russia, Two doctors and researchers, Dr. Gubernskii and Dr. Dmitriev found that 0.005ppm (parts per million) to 0.02 ppm of ozone added to normal indoor air with no ozone increased animals' resistance to colds, infections, to toxic substances, and to oxygen deprivation. That's a good thing! I quote, "A general increase in the immune "biological potential" and the vital capacity of the lung function" was reported as to the reason why. Other doctors in Russia, where ozone is embraced and used with a high success rate by the medical establishment, also performed tests utilizing less than.01 ppm of ozone in an air-conditioned office building to see the effects on the inhabitants. The tests revealed that "the office dwellers levels of oxygen in the blood increase relatively quickly and remained at a higher levels for the duration of the experiment." Since cancers cannot survive oxygen rich environments in our body, increasing our bodies oxygen level is a very good thing. Russian doctors have also stated that: "Atmospheric ozone has a positive effect on animals and people. It is important to note its positive effect on the breathing system, blood composition, arterial pressure, immune system, general feeling of well-being, and mental and physical work capability. The ozone-ion complex is a necessary component of fresh air that gives it a curative effect." I guess these finding shouldn't surprise anyone since our bodies are made to handle oxygen quite efficiently, and the more oxygen we get, the better. This same study, featured in the Russian journal Priroda, also reported a vast decrease in complaints of stuffiness from the office occupants. (3.8 times fewer complaints). Yet another Russian study performed to see how adding small amounts of ozone to the air was at improving indoor air quality in schools reported that respiratory-related illnesses were drastically improved after the ozone systems were installed. The ozone concentration produced by the systems was a mere 0.015 ppm (parts per million).
Okay you're thinking, that's great! But how about some studies here at home that suggest low levels of ozone in the air promoted good health? Some publications have published studies showing the effectiveness of lower concentrations ozone (0.01 to 0.03 ppm) at removing odors and pollutants from our air tight structures. Some of these include the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), U.S. Air Force technical publications, and Manufacturing Chemist. These studies however don't get national coverage, for somewhat obvious reason. We all know the power the International pharma drug and chemical cartels have over our elected officials, for better or for worse, such is the nature of our current system.
WHAT EXACTLY IS OZONE?
The short answer is three oxygen atoms that make up the o3 molecule known as ozone. In nature, ozone is created in our atmosphere up high to create an "ozone lawyer" to protects us from the harmful rays of the sun. Down low near earth, ozone is created to oxidize and remove man made pollution from the air we breathe. I know, I know. The EPA's spin is that ozone is in and of itself "smog". The directory of the EPA was quoted saying that she hopes someday "we can eliminate all ground ozone all together". That would be great, but to do that we'd all have to drive bikes, live in tee-pees, refrain from making any fires to cook or food, and refrain from using electricity. In other words, even during the pre-man era there was ozone in the air from fires, and if by chance her dream came true, we'd all die because we can't stop naturally occurring forest fires and without ozone to break down the smoke, we'd all eventually die. Besides, if there was no pollution in the air, mother nature wouldn't come to the rescue and create ozone to clean up our mess! Let me put this another way. If there is a lot of pollution, there will be a lot of ozone. Ozone is a blue gas, smog from industry and buses, cars, trucks, etc is a black-brown nasty color. Why call poor little Ms Ozone, the hard working cleaner that she is "smog" and not call the nasty brown and black "smog" emitted by industry smog instead? I know, I know, that's a novel idea, but I'm sure that wouldn't sit well with the Board of Directors of the major industries that are polluting our air, industries that feature former Presidents of the United States on their board of directors. If instead of "ozone alters" we were told exactly which toxic byproduct of industry was filling our air, and from which source, do you think that would put pressure on those polluters to clean up their act? Sure it would! But that would cost a lot of money, and make things more expensive, and make us less competitive around the world and lord knows we are already running an unsustainable national trade deficit. So ostensibly the powers that be met a long long time ago and came up with a plan to vilify ozone in order to draw attention away from the actual pollution culprits in order to protect those vital industries from any public outrage. Not cool, but the people behind this misinformation do what they have to do to protect our big industries which after all are the backbone of our economy in the final analysis, for better or for worse.
HOW IS OZONE CREATED?
"Down low" near the earth, ozone is created when smog from industry, older buses, trucks, automobiles, etc reacts with the rays of the sun to "split" oxygen in the atmosphere. The free oxygen atom then adheres to other oxygen molecules to form the highly unstable molecule known as Ozone. The ozone will then quickly attack the man made pollution in earnest by sending the extra atom of oxygen off on a search and destroy the offensive toxic substances by breaking the chemical chains of the pollutant, thus breaking them down into smaller molecules that are non-toxic. Ozone is also be created by an electrical spark, such as by lightning, the suns rays, UV lamps in a certain wave length, and by high voltage ozone plates in ozone generators.
HOW IS OZONE USED IN INDUSTRY?
Ozone is currently being used in a number of industries with great success. As a water purifier, ozone is second to none. Unlike the very toxic and cancer causing cleaner Chlorine, which our government endorses wholeheartedly by the way, ozone breaks down toxic substances in the water and then reverting back to oxygen without creating any harmful byproducts. That can't be said for Chlorine. When Chlorine in water comes in contact with food for instance, toxic byproducts are created which study after study suggest cause cancer.
" Surface water is being chlorinated to kill germs that might pollute it. Chlorine reacts with organic substances, causing formation of chlororganic substances (e.g. chloroform, chlorphenols, dioxins). Chloroform has long been known to be a potential cancer causative agent in animal experimentation.
Extensive epidemiological studies on human populations were able to confirm the existence of a similar causative link in humans. A study done in Iowa, USA, involving 28,000 women showed a clear correlation between cancer incidence and water chlorination." (1)
This is just one of many studies that tie chlorine in water to cancer. To make matters worse, when we clean our fruits in veggies in chlorinated water, we create cancer causing by-products:
"Some of nature's most valuable and essential anti-cancer and anti-disease phytochemical nutrients which are commonly found in food have been discovered to form deadly cancer causing substances when consumed or combined with chlorinated tap water. This discovery includes familiar foods including soy, fruits, vegetables, tea, many health products, and even some vitamins. Research has proven that these essential nutrients are the exact same families of compounds, that even in infinitesimal amounts have been tormenting the water treatment and chlorine industries for years.
Recently, a joint study was undertaken in Japan by research scientists at the National Institute of Health Sciences and Shizuoka Prefectural University. They determined that natural organic substances originating from foods, including fruits, soy, and green or black tea, react when tap water is chlorinated, forming dangerous cancer causing compounds. These deadly compounds have been named MX, which stands for "unknown mutagen", and are similar to the already well-known and more easily detected cancer causing THMs (trihalomethanes).
The Japanese scientists specifically mentioned that their studies showed that MX is created by the reaction of chlorine with natural organic plant phytochemicals such as catechins, which are contained in tea, and flavonoids which are found in fruit. Since Japan has an extremely high consumption of tea, fruits, and soy products, it is easy to see how high amounts of residues from these foods would end up in their wastewater treatment and water recycling systems.
Earlier studies by scientists in Finland in 1997 determined that MX is 170 times more deadly than other known toxic byproducts of chlorination, and was shown in laboratory studies to damage the thyroid gland as well as cause cancerous tumors." (2)
Recent studies by http://www.ewg.org, the Environmental Working Group found that nations municipal water supplies are overwrought with pharmaceutical drugs and other harmful chemicals. Well, the water districts that use Chlorine anyway to disinfect their water supplies. However, the water districts which employ ozone to disinfect the water were given a clean bill of health; no pharma drugs there!
"In a German study7, granular activated carbon (GAC) and ozonation used in a lab and in a water treatment plant, often in series, were very effective at removing carbamazepine, diclofenac and bezafibrate. The lab also showed that 3.0 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of ozone cut primidone levels by nearly 90 percent. Although neither GAC nor ozonation at any concentration was fully successful with clofibric acid separately, the two in combination cut levels of the drug to below the limits of detection during plant testing.
Shane Snyder, research and development project manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, testified in mid-April to a US Senate subcommittee about the pharmaceuticals issue on behalf of the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the water utility trade group. In an interview with Water Technology®, he said the powdered form of activated carbon can be even more effective if used properly.
He said ozone's effectiveness is tied to its ability to chemically attack the pharmaceutical molecules. For example, it can oxidize different kinds of functional aromatic bonds (forces binding certain carbon-based atomic structures within molecules) in pharmaceuticals.
In the German study, Ternes states that his research has shown ozone capable of easily oxidizing 90 percent of 51 different pharmaceuticals. It is particularly effective with compounds with amine groups and phenolic hydroxyl groups."
Most people don't know that tap water contains recycled urine from the toilet, that the pharma drugs people pee out end up in the tap water they drink (unless their water is ozonated), nor that they get the phama drugs plus cancer causing agents if their water district uses Chlorine to sanitize their recycled toilet water, aka tap water. Too bad some ex-Presidents of the USA sit on the Board of Directors of several big chemical companies that make Chlorine, and the pharma drugs in question.
What other industries, besides waste water management use ozone? Ozone is also used in the laundry industry to clean clothes without the use of harsh chemicals. In the food industry, ozone is used to preserve food without the use of artificial preservatives. Ozone kills the bacteria that breaks down food and spoils it while not effecting the food whatsoever. Ozone is used by restoration contractors to re-mediate smoke, water, and mold damage. Crime Scene Cleanup companies use ozone generators to get rid of "dead smells" and to destroy and organic material left behind. Some hospitals use ozone generators before and after operations to disinfect the operating room of any bacteria, viruses, and to destroy any left behind organic material as well as to disinfect beds. This is just a partial list for the successful use of air and water ozone generators in industry today. For links to these industries, check out the link at the bottom titled: "Links, Info Supporting This Article".
It's well beyond a foregone conclusion that water ozonation is beneficial on many different levels. We've also reviewed a few studies that suggest low levels of ozone in ambient air promotes good health. How can you use ozone safely and effectively to promote good health in your home? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Buy a "shock treatment" commercial ozone generator and perform regular "shock treatments" when nobody is home (adhere to all operational instructions) to disinfect your home and nip any potential problems (mold, surface viruses, etc) in the bud.
2) Buy a "repeat cycle timer" and place your ozone generator near the air return. Run your HVAC system in the "ON" position 24/7 and use a quality MERV 11 furnace filter (change monthly) to remove airborne dust and dander from your indoor air. Have the repeat cycle timer turn on for 5-6 seconds ever 4-5 minutes. Buy an ozone monitor to make sure the ozone level does not rise above.025 ppm, a low and conservative number that has been shown in many tests to promote good health. (EPA exposure limit is.10 ppm)
You'll immediately notice your air smells fresher and cleaner, similar to the air after a thunderstorm. Thunder creates ozone by splitting oxygen in the air in the same way an ozone generator splits oxygen, with electricity. A side bonus, you'll notice flying insects head for the hills or die, and turn right around when the chance presents itself to come inside your home. (They HATE even the lightest scent of ozone!) You'll notice your kids get sick less often, you everyone sleeps better at night. Most importantly, you'll notice the general health of everyone in your family improves over time when you provide low levels of ozone with lower dust levels due to running your HVAC fan 24/7. Of course when you try and tell your doctor this is because you're running an ozone generator to create low levels of ozone in your home, he or she will most likely tell you you're nuts and that ozone is a toxic gas. But you'll know better.
1. Chlorination, chlorination by-products, and cancer: a meta-analysis, American Journal of Public Health, 82(7): 955-63, 1992]
2. Christman, RF; Kronberg, K; Singh, R; Ball, LM; Johnson, DJ; Report 259 Identification of Mutagenic By-products from Aquatic Humic Chlorination; North Carolina State University
Proper Use of "Shock Treatment" Ozone Generators Can Save You a Trip to the Doctor