Is ozone a safe and effective way to make indoor air safe during a pandemic?

Ozone is a highly reactive molecule comprised of 3 oxygen atoms. It is often generated with Far UV light, which is not present in the UV lights we use (note, Far UV is also different from Far UVC). Ozone producing machines are often marketed for air cleaning purposes and they are so ineffective and dangerous that the EPA dedicated a page warning people about them.

The fundamental problem is trying to make something that is safe and effective. You can only get one of those with ozone. Even low doses that are ineffective may cause lung damage, coughing, shortness of breath, and so on. This is particularly problematic during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic since it is a respiratory infection that attacks the lungs and makes it difficult to breath.

Ozone generating devices have also been show to generate amounts in excess of safe exposure limits. It is challenging to maintain safe levels throughout a space since the concentration will be much higher at the source.

The only situation in which ozone use could be acceptable is an unoccupied space, but this poses a risk in that the reactants from building materials coming into contact with ozone may themselves be toxic and linger for a prolonged time. These reaction can also lead to premature wear of materials in your building.

If you have recently purchased an ozone-device, it may be prudent to evalaute whether you can obtain a refund, and whether false advertising occured that might allow you to pursue a credit card chargeback or legal action if the vendor refuses a refund (this is not legal advice).

Although ozone is known to be ineffective and dangerous, it is not proven whether this is also true of dry hydrogen peroxide gas generators that are marketed similarly.

See our other articles or take a look at our research paper summaries.

Learn more about the landscape of technologies marketed as making air safer: 1) Far UVC; 2) Radical Oxides e.g. Hydrogen Peroxide; 3) Violet and UVA

Read the Reflow Labs Airsafe White Paper

See the key FAQ pages provided by a team of scientists on COVID-19 transmission and preventive approaches:

This article was reviewed by: Test Reviewer 1 and Test Reviewer 2

Learn more about our board of reviewers.

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