How does ozone work?



Ozone tends to react with other substances by attaching the third oxygen atom to the other substance, thereby oxidizing it.  Many of us have heard weather reports where the ozone levels were referred to in conjunction with pollution levels. Ozone is present in smog because certain processes that create pollution also produce ozone. Ozone recombines with those same pollutants and neutralizes them by breaking them down into water, carbon dioxide, sulphur, nitrogen and oxygen.

Generated low levels of ozone used for water purification prove very successful, as it is possibly the most powerful antibiotic, sanitizer and deodorant known to man. It doesn’t merely mask harmful substances or smells – it seeks them out and eliminates them.   The highest natural levels of ozone are found at the seashore and in forest/mountain locations, places where you automatically feel refreshed. The invigorating air after a thunderstorm is as a result of ozone, so is the smell of naturally dried laundry on a clothesline.


Perhaps you are a smoker or live with someone who smokes or maybe work with people who do. That is a worrying scenario as cigarette smoke has over 3,600 chemicals. Ozone will break those chemicals down into their basic molecular components, neutralizing them. It is capable of destroying tar, soot and oil in the lungs, benzene, vinyl chloride and other hydrocarbons. Having performed this task the ozone itself reverts to just plain oxygen!

Dr. Clark regularly warns about the dangers of airborne gasses such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and chemical pollutants given off by carpets, wallpaper, and furniture.  Take for example formaldehyde. When formaldehyde is infiltrated by ozone it breaks down into carbon dioxide, water and oxygen. Well worth bearing in mind if you have pollutants in your house or workplace like these that you are not in a position to remove.

Carbon monoxide is a lethal gas and cannot be detected easily. It bonds with human blood 600 times faster than oxygen. Ozone changes carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, a harmless gas. Solvents from fresh paint are instantly neutralized by ozone as are cooking smells, animal odors, cigarette smoke, garbage smells and mildew, etc. Perfume can be intolerable for people suffering chemical insensitivities. An ozonator may be the answer.

In some countries people wear tiny ozone generators around their neck just for this reason – to neutralize pollutants, perhaps on a journey through heavily polluted areas. Bacteria, molds, fungi and even mildew are destroyed when they react with ozone as the outer membranes or ‘shells’ of these micro-organisms contain receptors that absorb ozone to their own demise. They are anaerobic, meaning that they can thrive only where oxygen levels are depleted. Ozone increases oxygen levels.

Viruses can also be destroyed by ozone on contact.  In the case of polio only 0.012ppm removes all viral cells in seconds.   As you know there isn’t an effective antibiotic that will touch a virus. Ozone is a particularly safe therapy to use provided that certain restrictions are respected.  The Food and Drug Administration declares 0.05ppm as the safe level for 24 hour a day inhalation in the USA. However, natural outdoor levels vary between 0.03 and 0.05ppm and go several times higher than this at times and in certain ideal locations can reach 0.65ppm, so nature then breaks the FDA’s rulings! Even at these higher rates no harm has been caused, in fact the opposite is the case.

In cleaning water, ozone is more efficient even than chlorine, in fact an ozone level of 0.04ppm in just 4 minutes has been shown to kill bacteria, mold and fungus. Giardia and Cryptosporidium cysts are susceptible to ozone but are unaffected by normal levels of chlorine in water. Ozone is 25 times more effective than hypochlorous acid, 2,500 times more effective than hypochlorite, and 5,000 times more than chloramine. (Results measured by the time needed to kill 99.99% of all micro-organisms). Chlorine reacts with organic materials to form chloroform, carbon tetrachloride etc generally known as trihalomethanes. These have been implicated as carcinogens in the development of kidney, bladder and colon cancer. However, ozone when used repeatedly and in conjunction with charcoal, reacts with organic materials to break them down into simpler compounds that are not dangerous.

Ozone swimming pool cleaners are very popular and one of the reasons is that when water is ozonated, algae is oxidized and floats to the top, metabolic by products of algae are oxidized also, removing odor and taste. So cleaning the pool is not such a frequent or time-consuming job, chemicals are not required and the water is smelling good and clean (…just makes you want to jump in).

In cleaning the air, ozone reacts with odors oxidizing them into harmless compounds or carbon dioxide. We would have sufficient ozone but all the chemical gasses released into the atmosphere by cars and factories are using it up. Surely oxygen generators would be sufficient? Well, ozone is approximately 3,500 times more potent an oxidant than oxygen. High mountain areas produce high levels of ozone. This is why people with respiratory problems, TB etc. were sent to such areas.

As with anything i.e. oxygen, water etc. too much can be harmful, (although ozone is an incredibly safe gas and consistently spoken of as the safest therapy, non toxic and with no evidence of free radical damage) yet no one has ever died from using ozone and it has been in use for many years. Only chronic high overdose may give problems and then there would be warning symptoms such as coughing for more than 30 minutes continuously. At such times Vitamin C (5,000mg) – an antagonist of ozone – can reverse the effect.

NOTE:  SMELL FRESH ARIZONA, LLC. does not endorse the deliberate inhalation of ozone gas.  We only provide our service in the absence of people, pets, and plants, and provide a ventilation period of our treated spaces before they are reoccupied.  We did find the explanation of ozone’s chemical reactions and neutralizing effects on harmful chemicals a worthwhile read for our customers and followers.  Thank you!

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