The Stratospheric Misunderstanding of Ozone

Let's clarify OZONE once and for all.

It is true that ozone in excessively high levels can cause breathing trouble, but the part that is never mentioned is that you breathe ozone every day—it's a normal part of your air supply, and a normal part of Earth's atmosphere. It is only when ozone levels are excessive that health problems can occur. After all, even water, fire, and sunlight can be harmful in excess.

Unfortunately, like many other commercial examples, ozone has gotten a bad rap from manufacturers who have used negative marketing to their advantage, jumping on the ozone-will-kill-you bandwagon in an attempt to skewer the competition.

"That Air Guy" gives a great overview of what ozone is and how it's crucial to life on Earth:

"Ozone is a marvel of Nature. In the upper atmosphere ozone protects our planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Closer to Earth, ozone purifies and sanitizes the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Long used in medical therapies, ozone has shown remarkable antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal activity.

Ozone is a unique molecule that seeks out and destroys the organic molecules that form much of the indoor pollutants. Whether the pollutants are from biological or chemical sources, ozone rapidly oxidizes them by first reverting itself to O2 (oxygen) and then depositing the third oxygen atom on the offending pollutant. This process very effectively deodorizes, disinfects, and destroys many of the pathogens and fumes that poison indoor air."

Without the Earth's ozone layer, we'd all be toast. Ozone is not only safe—it's necessary!

Ozone levels up to 0.05 ppm are safe, according to the FDA. When it comes to air purifiers, as long as they limit ozone levels in your home to between 0.02 and 0.04 ppm, they offer great health benefits, without any the negative effects.

For an in-depth discussion of ozone, I recommend That Air Guy's ozone site and his air purifier informational site.

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