Ozone and Indoor Air Quality

The UV-C lamps used in UVDI’s Indoor Air Quality technology are ozone-free. UVDI’s portable air purifiers do not emit ozone and are accordingly certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). To provide context for this pollutant, here’s a brief primer drawing from CARB’s informative website, about ozone the pollutant, what it is, what it is and why it matters.

What is Ozone?
According to the California Air Resources Board, ozone is an important component of smog, is a highly reactive and unstable gas capable of damaging living cells, such as those present in the linings of the human lungs.

It is a pollutant which forms in our atmosphere due to chemical-emission from automobiles, vehicles, industrial facilities, consumer products and even some air purifiers.  It forms in greater quantities on hot, sunny, arid days.

What is the difference between ground-level and stratospheric ozone?
There are two primary classifications of ozone – ground-level and stratospheric ozone – which reference where each is found.  CARB regulates ozone as a pollutant produced close to the ground level, where people live, exercise and breathe. The ozone found high up in the atmosphere is called stratospheric ozone. This layer, far above where people live, reduces the amount of ultraviolet light entering the earth’s atmosphere. Without the protection of the stratospheric ozone layer, plant and animal life could be seriously harmed.

Why do CARB and U.S. EPA focus on ozone?
Air quality regulators are concerned about ozone pollution because of its effects on public health and the environment. Ozone can damage the tissues of the respiratory tract, causing inflammation and irritation, and result in symptoms such as coughing, chest tightness and worsening of asthma symptoms. In addition, ozone causes substantial damage to crops, forests and native plants. Ozone can also damage materials such as rubber and plastics.

What kinds of harmful effects can ozone cause?
Inhalation of ozone causes inflammation and irritation of the tissues lining human airways, causing and worsening a variety of symptoms. Exposure to ozone can reduce the volume of air that the lungs breathe in and cause shortness of breath. Ozone in sufficient doses increases the permeability of lung cells, rendering them more susceptible to toxins and microorganisms. The occurrence and severity of health effects from ozone exposure vary widely among individuals, even when the dose and the duration of exposure are the same.

Who is at the greatest risk from exposure to ozone?
Research shows adults and children who spend more time outdoors participating in vigorous physical activities are at greater risk from the harmful health effects of ozone exposure. While there are relatively few studies of ozone’s effects on children, the available studies show that children are no more or less likely to suffer harmful effects than adults. However, there are a number of reasons why children may be more susceptible to ozone and other pollutants. Children and teens spend nearly twice as much time outdoors and engaged in vigorous activities as adults. Children breathe more rapidly than adults and inhale more pollution per pound of their body weight than adults. Also, children are less likely than adults to notice their own symptoms and avoid harmful exposures. Further research may be able to better distinguish between health effects in children and adults.

Children, adolescents and adults who exercise or work outdoors, where ozone concentrations are the highest, are at the greatest risk of harm from this pollutant.

How does ozone affect materials?
Ozone can cause substantial damage to a variety of materials such as rubber, plastics, fabrics, paint and metals. Exposure to ozone progressively damages both the functional and aesthetic qualities of materials and products, and shortens their life spans. Damage from ozone exposure can result in significant economic losses as a result of the increased costs of maintenance, upkeep and replacement of these materials.

Is ozone a problem indoors?
Ozone levels are typical lower indoors than than outdoors. However, levels of ozone indoors can approach outdoor levels when windows or doors are open.  Moreover, common equipment such as photocopiers, laser printers and certain air purifiers can emit ozone indoors as well. Air purifiers that purposely emit ozone, called ozone generators, should not be used in occupied spaces as they can emit unsafe levels of ozone. Once inside, ozone

What are the Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone?
In 2005, after an extensive review of the scientific literature, CARB approved an eight-hour standard for ozone of 0.070 ppm and retained the one-hour 0.09 ppm standard previously established in 1987. Evidence from the reviewed studies indicates that significant harmful health effects could occur among both adults and children if exposed to levels above these standards. On October 1, 2015, the U.S. EPA lowered the national eight-hour standard from 0.075 ppm to 0.070 ppm.

chart

Source: https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/resources/ozone-and-health#