Ozone Air Purifier Side Effects Are Dangerous — Here’s Why

November 1, 2021

It’s no secret that Covid 19 has radically changed the hospital/healthcare setting.

The recent delta and omicron variants have had hospitals scramble to find the best methods to reduce person-to-person transmission.

Recent research points to the use of air devices as the number one catalyst in mitigating bioaerosol transmission in hospital settings.

As you search for the right indoor air quality solution for your hospital or healthcare facility, you’ll want to focus on more than the initial investment. Many cheaper air purifying systems — marketed to everyone from homeowners to hospital facilities directors — emit a gas called ozone.

You may remember ozone from 4th-grade science class as that friendly layer in Earth’s stratosphere that protects us from harmful UV rays. Unfortunately, the ozone many air purifiers emit is much less friendly. Ozone air purifier side effects make this type of purification system hazardous to the health of your hospital community.

Before choosing an air disinfection system, learn more about the disadvantages of ozone “disinfection”:

Ozone Air Purifier Side Effects: Medical Concerns

Ozone is a gas made up of three oxygen atoms. It might sound safe, but ozone is actually highly reactive. In other words, it’s potentially toxic due to its unstable molecule makeup.

We experience ozone every day. Ozone on the ground level of the atmosphere is most common in urban areas. Part of the makeup of smog, ozone is a gas we never want someone to breathe in, especially when ill or recovering from surgery.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, ozone has no medical use. While ozone is used as a germicide in some applications, the amount of the gas needed for this to be effective is above the safe limits for humans. Ozone inhalation has been reported to cause adverse effects on the:

  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Eyes
  • Central nervous system

Pulmonary edema is a direct medical condition resulting from ozone gas inhalation.

More on Ozone Air Purifiers

Even though the EPA has defined ozone gas as toxic, it’s still generated by many commercial-strength air purification and disinfection systems. (Note that the EPA does not regulate these systems, only issues guidelines.)

An ozone air purifier that generates ozone of > 0.05 parts per million by volume is considered hazardous. Yet these supposed air disinfection units are still available on the marketplace.

The problem with these air purifiers is there is no way to measure or predict ozone exposure levels. Therefore, any air purifier ozone generator is likely to be a hazard.

Understanding the concerns of ozone gas is the first step to protecting your hospital population. By choosing an air purifier that does not produce ozone, you automatically eliminate a health concerns.

Even more critically, a residential-strength ozone generator does not effectively remove:

Environmental services directors and infection preventionists in search of next-generation air disinfection should simply stay away from ozone air purifiers.

Safe Air Disinfection Systems

You may have noticed we’ve used the terms “disinfection” and “purification” throughout this article. There is a critical difference between air purification and air disinfection. You’ll want a solution that provides both full-on air disinfection (killing of pathogens) and zero ozone emissions.

To safely protect your hospital patients, staff, and visitors, choose air disinfection solutions that do not generate ozone. If you decide to go the route of disinfection machines, remember there are systems capable of removing particulates without creating toxins.

These air disinfection solutions should not be combined with the ozone generators that are commonly sold to hospitals. There are safer, more effective alternatives on the market today.