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Dealing With Indoor Air Pollution

IAQ. Government agencies rate air pollution as the nation's biggest pollution problem and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) more hazardous to our health than outdoor air. From the date of the first oil embargo, when the cost of energy for heating and cooling our environment soared, we have attempted to eliminate outdoor air from our indoor environment. By doing so, we have also trapped all of the pollutants indoors and have eliminated the one chemical that has the capacity to restore the air to its pure state—ozone.

THE MOST COMMON SOURCES OF INDOOR POLLUTION ARE:
  • The building itself and its furnishings (such as particle board, ceiling tiles, carpets and furniture, paints and finishes). These emit hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde and styrene.


  • Chemicals inadvertently brought into the home such as the residue in dry cleaned clothing, the hydrocarbons collected on our clothing while driving home, and the small amount of chemical residue on the food from the grocer.


  • Cleaning products of all types.


  • Tobacco smoke and the 3600 chemicals resulting from that smoke.


  • Organic residue from insects, rodents, roaches, pets, etc.


  • Mold, mildew and fungus.
Ozone is one of the most powerful natural sanitizers and deodorizers known to science, second only to fluorine as the most powerful oxidant in the world. Ozone does not merely mask odors and harmful substances; it seeks out and eliminates them at their molecular source. Contaminants like E.coli, Listeria, Salmonella, Giardia and Cryptosporidium are destroyed by ozone more quickly and thoroughly, than by conventional disinfectants. In fact, ozone kills E.coli more than 3000 times faster than chlorine and unlike chlorine, does not leave behind chemical residue. Tests have shown that common household bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungus are greatly reduced by the addition of small amounts of ozone in typical household environments.

WHAT IS OZONE?

Ozone, also called activated oxygen or trivalent oxygen, is a natural component of the atmosphere, created when oxygen molecules are split by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, lightening and electrical arcs. The free atoms recombine in three-atom groups to form ozone.

Most people associate ozone with either the beleaguered upper atmospheric filter layer that protects us from solar radiation or with ground level air pollution. Ozone is indeed present in smog, because certain processes that create pollution also produce ozone. Some of these pollutants, when subjected to the sun's UV rays, lose oxygen atoms. These free atoms combine with the oxygen in the air to form ozone. Because the ozone level has a direct relationship to the level of chemical pollutants found in smog, it is used as an index to monitor outdoor air pollution. Petrochemicallymade ozone mixed with smog chemicals is an unhealthy soup mix of toxins, and should not be breathed.

Areas that are considered the most healthy vacation spots in the country have some of the highest levels of naturally occurring ozone.

IS OZONE SAFE?

Like virtually everything—even oxygen—ozone can be harmful as a result of prolonged exposure to high concentration. "Natural" ozone concentration can vary between .01 PPM (parts per million) to .05 PPM, depending on geographic location, altitude and season. During thunder and lightening storms ozone concentration levels triple to 1.5 PPM. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared .05 PPM as a safe level for 24-hour-a-day exposure. This is a conservative standard, as natural levels of ozone often reach much higher levels. EPA, USDA and OSHA standard exposure level is .1 PPM for 8 hours exposure.


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