Is Ozone Harmful Or Not?
Why This "Good Guy Gets Bad Press

You may have heard that ozone is dangerous. Although some groups claim that ozone is harmful, proof of its safety and effectiveness at moderate concentrations has prevailed in multiple hearings before the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Millions of ozone air purifiers have been sold in the United States over the years, but there are no specific cases where an ozone air cleaner has been linked to any kind of harm or injury.

"June 26, 2001 will go down in ozone history as one of its most important milestone dates . . . it is the date that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) formally approved the use of ozone in gaseous (air) and aqueous (water) phases as an antimicrobial agent on food, including meat and poultry".

-- August issue of Ozone News which is a newsletter of the International Ozone Association

Well-intentioned but misinformed people mistakenly equate ozone with low-altitude pollution or smog. This is because whenever smog levels are high, so are the measured ozone levels. Ozone is easy to measure; hydrocarbons are not. They're just too complex. Since ozone is always present in levels consistent with the hydrocarbon (pollution) level, the assumption is perpetuated that it's the ozone that is the culprit. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Ozone forms naturally when sunlight reacts with man-made hydrocarbons in the air (automobile exhaust or smokestack emissions, for example). The more hydrocarbons there are, the more ozone is produced -- and it's the ozone that is actually breaking down those harmful pollutants and rendering them harmless. Without ozone, we couldn't even live in our cities!

What some refer to as "ozone" in ground-level air quality is really hydrocarbons: CO CO and SO that react with UV rays from the sun to form nitric oxides (NOX), halogenated by-products, lead and sulfur compounds. These composites cause offensive odors and do indeed aggravate respiratory problems and burn eyes. But this is NOT the ozone being produced by Air Oasis Air Purifiers as part of our unique oxidizers.

According to H. Banks Edwards, P.E., author of the article Indoor Air Quality - A Different Approach, there is both good and bad ozone.

"Most of the ozone standards were developed before 1950 using ozone generators that were crude when compared to today's equipment. The ozone used for their experiments was generated from air. Since the primary ingredients of air are oxygen and nitrogen, when ozone is generated from air, the products are ozone and nitrous oxides. Both nitrogen pentoxide and nitrous oxide are toxic to the respiratory system but pure ozone is not; therefore if the nitrogen products are removed from the ozone, the toxicity would be eliminated. Ozone made from pure oxygen will produce only ozone and oxygen. Ozone generated from air is called IMPURE OZONE, but ozone made from oxygen is called PURE OZONE."

Ozone is found naturally in many places, usually ones that humans seek out because they enjoy the way they feel when they're in this kind of environment. Higher than average concentrations are found at the seashore, at waterfalls and in mountain forests. That sweet, bleachy smell you detect in the air after a thunderstorm is actually ozone. Remember the smell of sheets fresh off the line? That's ozone. Wherever sunlight, water and wind get together, you will find plenty of ozone, and, where feasible, plenty of people who are eager to soak it up! Yes, there is a physiological reason why people feel better at the beach, around waterfalls and in the mountains. Ozone is a large factor, as are beneficial negative ions.

The chart below is from the California EPA, which routinely measures ozone levels in hundreds of its counties.

ARB Logo
Ozone Data Summary (1995-1998)
Yosemite Natl Park-Turtleback Dome
Mariposa County APCD
Mountain Counties Air Basin Mariposa County
Year % of Days Moni-

Number of Days
Standard Exceeded

1-hr Ozone
Concentrations ppm

8-hr Ozone Concentrations ppm

State 1-hr Fed 1-hrFed 8-hr 1st
EPDC* 1st
1998 78 10 09 0.106 0.104 0.1030.103 0.106 0.099 0.098 0.094
1997 93 3 03 0.111 0.107 0.0980.092 0.105 0.100 0.095 0.091
1996 96 9 010 0.107 0.106 0.0990.098 0.107 0.094 0.094 0.093
1995 93 11 011 0.114 0.104 0.1000.100 0.103 0.095 0.095

* The Expected Peak Day Concentration (EPDC) is calculated based on data for 3 successive years, listed by the last year of the three year period. The EPDC represents the ozone concentration expected to occur once per year.

Although the FDA has established the "safe" level for ozone to be 0.05 ppm, the above chart clearly shows levels at one of our "healthiest" National Parks -- Yosemite -- to be over .10 ppm a majority of the time. Similar levels exist at Sequoia National Park and Pinnacles National Monument. If ozone is so harmful, one wonders why the FDA hasn't shut down these "dangerous places"!

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