Ozone is an unstable oxygen molecule (O3) which is generally used professionally and is definitely not suitable for residential purposes. Yet, an increasing number of households in India are being regularly buying ozone based air purifiers. Although, ozone is considered a useful gas as it shields us against the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, however, in the troposphere – or the weather-causing layer of the atmosphere, it is a pollutant, a greenhouse gas and is proven toxic.
The ozone purifier however, utilizes the disinfection property of ozone. The device releases ozone to oxidize bacteria and virus. In ozone air purifiers, the levels of ozone that are required to kill bacteria effectively are capable of harming humans too. Although the purifiers claim to adhere to the prescribed limits of healthy environmental ozone, nevertheless even slightest amounts of ozone can be potentially harmful and are known to cause irritation to eyes and coughing at the minimal, and fatalities with long-term exposure at the other end.
A call by the G’nY correspondent to the Kent costumer service, a company that sells the ozone purifier evoked a startling response, “We are soon removing this product from the market as it doesn’t really help in cleaning the room”. Another manufacturer, Eltech Engineer’s sales team added that “ozone decays into oxygen in 30 minutes” – claiming thereby that the product is safe for residential use.
But, fact remains that this is true only in case of ozone being released in water – but in air at temperatures 20o and above, this conversion could easily take up to three long days.
Dr. D. Saha, Senior Scientist and air-quality expert, Environment Information System (ENVIS) Centre, in India’s Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi, told the G’nY correspondent that, “ozone can be used for water purification but is not required for air purification. Some people are doing business in the name of purification. ”
A case in point is the stand taken by Canada and California, where ozone purifiers have been banned citing many problems. The California Environmental Protection Agency has even put out a list of potentially hazardous ozone generators sold as air purifiers. Also, many federal agencies including those of the United States take the side effects of ozone seriously and have recommendations and health standards in order to limit people’s exposure.
An ozone air purifier can at the best be called a disinfectant – not an air purifier. It should be avoided at all cost, in case you are planning to opt for an ozone air purifier.