The controlled, beneficial uses of ozone are once again being confused with – and hurt by – public concerns about SMOG and ground level ozone.
Over the years, the only time most people hear about ozone is when there is a local pollution “ozone alert”. By extension, many of them conclude from this that ozone is a hazardous gas under all circumstances, and is therefore “bad”.
The sad thing about this is that it may lead people to reject controlled applications of ozone that contribute powerfully to human health and safety. It is precisely because ozone is one of nature’s most potent oxidizers that it is so valuable as a disinfection agent in a wide range of applications from food safety, to pool and spa sanitation, to ozone laundry.
The Current Brouhaha
The recent highly visible public controversy over the EPA’s proposal to strengthen the regulation of ground level ozone put the “bad” face of ozone in the news again. Even though the President scrapped the EPA plans, the message was clear: Anything you have to regulate in the name of public health must be dangerous.
It is true that ground level airborne ozone in high concentrations can be a threat to some humans who have frail respiratory systems. Therefore, the EPA targets ozone for regulation.
However, the deeper truth is that ground level ozone is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels. The reason that the more stringent regulations the EPA proposed generated so much protest from business groups was because “reducing ozone” really means reducing fossil fuel emissions, and that is a costly proposition. The real debate here ought to be about the costs and benefits of alternative energy sources, not over whether ozone is dangerous.
Controlled Ozone is a Good Thing
Obviously, not all the ozone generators in the world can make enough ozone to be a public health nuisance in even one metropolitan area. The thing that makes some people nervous about ozone disinfection is when it takes place in an enclosed space. They worry that if the ozone generator lets ozone escape into the room, it could be dangerous.
DEL understands this concern. That’s why every major DEL Ozone system is engineered with complete user and worker safety in mind. DEL systems meet or exceed OSHA airborne safety standards, and the aqueous ozone solutions they produce have absolutely no impact on humans, even in contact.
DEL Ozone systems address this core safety concern in several ways:
DEL Ozone systems do not off-gas by design. DEL uses superior ozone production and injection methods that maximize the efficiency of the ozone applications, and at the same time, minimize the escape of ozone as gas.
Ozone destruct systems guard against malfunctions. In larger ozone systems, DEL adds technically sophisticated off-gas capture and destruct mechanisms. If off-gas is produced, it is destroyed in this process.
Automatic failsafe systems: Every DEL Ozone system uses automatic safety controls and methods so the system shuts down if it operates outside of a parameter setting.
Corrosion resistant design: Since ozone is powerful, it can oxidize ordinary materials and allow gases to escape the system. Therefore, DEL uses ozone resistant materials like ceramics, stainless steel and specific plastics, which also contribute to the reliability and longevity of the systems.
Ozone Benefits Far Outweigh its Costs
In the real world, human well-being and economic costs have to be balanced. DEL Ozone systems help owners and operators of many kinds of businesses to protect public health at a low cost over the life of the investment. These benefits should not be tossed out because unrelated and uncontrolled ozone production by pollution can pose a threat to some people. This would be a self-defeating action in failing to take advantage of controlled ozone in human-serving applications where clean is critical.