The Risks and Limitations When Using Ozone Generators to Remove Odors - Vancouver Island | Pacific Decon

The Risks and Limitations When Using Ozone Generators to Remove Odors


Ozone generators are ineffective at attacking the root of the problem!

The use of ozone generators to remove odors in homes and vehicles offer poor results for homeowners in Victoria, Cowichan, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum, Courtenay, Comox, Campbell River, and Port Alberni.

Research has found that ozone generators were not effective in removing odors and bacteria – especially surface bacteria.

Manufacturers’ claims

Manufacturers say that the highly reactive nature of ozone allows it to easily attach to pollution, especially odorous compounds like smoke and organic matter such as viruses, bacteria and mold spores. However, these claims are not backed up by sound science.

Performance against mold and bacteria

Research has found that ozone generators were not effective at stopping mold or bacteria growth in a standard hospital room, and would require unsafe levels of ozone to do the job at all (Dyas, Boughton, & Das, 1983). For mold growth, public health departments do not recommend using ozone generators for clean-up, saying that ozone even at high levels cannot control mold.

Performance against VOCs

You may be asking yourself, if ozone gas is effective at anything, it should work on other gaseous pollutants (specifically volatile organic compounds, or VOCs) right? Well, it might not, unless you wait for thousands of years in some cases. A research study (Boeniger, 1995) analyzed how long it would take to remove 14 of the most common organic compounds found in the air. It was found that at ozone concentrations of 100 ppb, it would take 880+ years for six of these pollutants to be broken down into half of their initial concentrations (half-lives). In fact, it would take more than 4,400 years for formaldehyde! Only one pollutant, styrene, was found to have a half-life of about 4 hours.

Performance against particulates

You must remember that ozone generators do not remove particulate matter like dust or pollen (which are often allergens) from the air.

The EPA’s conclusion about effectiveness

The EPA concludes from a review of scientific research that at concentrations that meet public health standards, ozone is not very effective at removing indoor air contaminants.

Can ozone generators remove odors?

The million dollar question for you might be whether ozone generators can remove odors from the air. That at least is what manufacturers claim to be the most common use for ozone generators in homes.

However, the evidence is mixed as to whether ozone generators can remove most odors from the air. As mentioned above, ozone generators may not work efficiently at all for gases, namely volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as it could take hundreds of years for this process.

Yet, some research reviewed by Britigan, Alshawa, and Nizkorodov (2006) has shown that ozone may be effective for certain types of VOCs (namely, those containing unsaturated carbon-carbon bonds). These types of VOCs are found in cooking oils, air fresheners, cleaning agents, etc. However, there is a big downside: other dangerous byproducts like formaldehyde can be released into the air when ozone reacts with these substances.

Here is another important point: What you might perceive as odor removal may just be facade. Odors in a room could be masked by the smell of ozone being released into the air. Many people who use ozone generators like the smell that is produced, describing it as a “clean sheet smell” or the smell of clothes fresh from the dryer (EPA, 1995).

What are the safety precautions of ozone generators?

Ultimately, you need to know that no agency of the federal government has approved using ozone generators in occupied spaces. If you must use one or have no choice in a certain situation, you should take every measure possible to make sure they are never used when people or animals are present in the room. Plants also should be kept outside of the area.

Many times, if ozone generators are used, they are used for commercial cleaning in hotels, cars, etc. Many hotels use them inside a room just before new guests arrive, which can be harmful because of any residual ozone that lingers in the air. Manufacturers of ozone generators recommend they only be used by trained professionals for odor removal, and that all other steps, like cleaning the area and removing any sources of the odor, should be done first.

What are some better solutions?

There are other solutions that are much safer and more effective than using an ozone generator.

We neutralize the source of your contamination by applying our eco-friendly, safe chemical everywhere within your affected area that may be causing the odor. Depending on the job, we apply our formula by spray, mist, foam, or fog. Our treatment eliminates all contaminants, including airborne, surface and sub-surface. The average time of our on-site service is approximately one hour. An additional four hours is required to achieve maximum effectiveness. We ask that you stay out of the area for approximately 5 hours in total. Read more about how we work.

Pacific Decontamination Services uses the world’s strongest, most effective and safe antimicrobial disinfectant, deodorization and chemical decontaminate. Our professional application will eliminate up to 99.99999% of any allergen, germ, bacteria or fungus that it touches. AND as powerful as it is, it is also completely safe.

What do you do next? How do you solve the challenge of odor and associated health hazards?

Call Pacific Decontamination Services at 778-269-0208 or email us!

Serving All of Vancouver Island: Victoria, Cowichan, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum, Courtenay, Comox, Campbell River, and Port Alberni.