A heartfelt welcome to visitors wishing to follow my Little Guy Teardrop Trailer Travels. For your convenience, you can follow my trips chronologically by clicking The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. ~~ More trailer info. ~~ The overall contents of this blog are a mix of health & nutrition, and comments about my activities. Enjoy!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First Aid for Ozone Poisoning

I am so impatient; I want to feel healthy again!! So I've spent more time (hours!!) on the Internet researching recovery from ozone poisoning. (See my Feb. 9th blog.) It has been ten days since I diagnosed my illness (and turned off the generators), and I'm still extremely exhausted. The following first excerpt isn't very encouraging.

Handbook of Compressed Gases by Compressed Gas Association, page 566.
First Aid: Ozone poisoning should be treated symptomatically. This may include bed rest, analgesics to relieve pain, and antibiotics as prescribed by a doctor. Severe cases may require hospitalization and exhibit the following symptoms: dyspnea, cough, choking, tachycardia, vertigo, lowered blood pressure, cramps and chest pains. Recovery after severe acute ozone toxicity is slow. Up to 10 to 14 days of hospitalization may be required. Minimal residual symptoms may be present for up to nine months but the victim should completely recover. [Dyspnea: difficult or labored respiration; per Merriam-Webster.]

The following is the first paragraph of a very long, very scientific article. Read the entire article here.

This chapter [chapter 9, pp. 184-213] summarizes relevant epidemiologic and toxicologic studies of ozone. Selected chemical and physical properties, toxicokinetic and mechanistic data, and inhalation exposure levels from the National Research Council (NRC) and other agencies are also presented. The committee considered all that information in its evaluation of the Navy’s current and proposed 1-h, 24-h, and 90-day exposure guidance levels for ozone. The committee’s recommendations for ozone exposure guidance levels are provided at the conclusion of the chapter with a discussion of the adequacy of the data for defining them and the research needed to fill remaining data gaps.

There are hundreds of references to ozone when I do a Google search. This one is amusing because it involves growing marijuana and is titled What are the dangers of Ozone? I confess to correcting several spelling errors--and grinning ear-to-ear that this straight-laced old lady connected with an article about marijuana.

What is Ozone? Ozone occurs naturally in the stratosphere, and at relatively low concentrations. Ozone is the earths main defence against harmful UV rays emitted from the sun. At low concentrations, ozone is harmless, but at high concentrations it can cause problems in certain situations. Ozone is used in the cultivation of cannabis to destroy the tell-tale odors given off by the plants. Ozone is created in 'ozone generators' which can be bought at grow shops, and some household related shops. Car exhaust is the main producer of ozone at ground level. It's molecular structure is similar to that of oxygen, but the third oxygen atom is unstable, and readily detaches from the ozone molecule and 'attacks' any structure that will accept an oxygen atom. This can be harmful to some organic substances. It's not only organic substances that are affected by ozone. Nearly everything that gets in its way will be destroyed! It is highly corrosive, and can affect everything from metals to rubber. If this gas is so toxic that it corrodes metals and rubbers, just image what it does to your lungs!.. [Bold, color emphasis by Lorraine.]
* Ozone is a colorless gas
* It is a naturally occurring gas
* It does not have an obvious odor (although some say it smells like fresh rain, or purified air)
* Ozone is a toxic gas
How does it affect me, and what are some symptoms of over-exposure to ozone?
Short exposures of relatively high amounts of ozone (found in some grow rooms) can cause problems such as:
* Pains in the chest
* Throat irritation
* Coughing
* Shortness of breath
Although short exposures to ozone may cause problems, these should clear up over time. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of ozone can cause severe damage to the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system, and over time may have irreversible effects. The more ozone a person inhales, the more damage is done to their system, and the less chance there is of recovery. People with asthma are advised to avoid prolonged exposure to ozone, as it may cause an 'asthma attack' or flare up problems with their respiratory system. As an example to the severity of ozone 'poisoning', the New York State Ozone Advisory will issue a warning to people if the level of ozone is above 0.08 ppm for more than 8 hours at a time. 0.15 ppm is intolerable for even short periods. [Bold, color emphasis by Lorraine.]

What can I do to prevent over-exposure?
Your ozone generator should not [be] pumping ozone directly into the room. If you are using an ozone generator, use it in conjunction with your ventilation system. This way, no concentrated amounts of ozone are present in the grow room, but instead having all the ozone flow in the exhaust tubing to clean the air as it leaves the grow room. Put your ozone generator inside your exhaust ducting - most generators are round tubes with 4/6/8" diameters, designed to work inline with your grow room air exhaust system. Some generators have a control that regulates the output levels. (The generator functions at 100% output, but this rheostat cycles the on/off cycles, much like a microwave). This method is the safest and most effective way to use your ozone generator, but for added advantages, if you divert some ozone back into the grow room it will help kill airborne substances such as spores, moulds, etc., to help keep your grow sterile and clean. If your generator is pumping ozone directly into your grow room you will need to have a strong ventilation system to help keep the levels of ozone from building up to dangerous levels. Having the exhaust air vented outside is the best solution. Avoid spending excess amounts of time in your grow area if you are using an ozone generator. [Bold, color emphasis by Lorraine.] Concentrations (according to various controlling bodies) should not exceed concentrations of 0.10 ppm for more than a few hours at a time. It is also understood that these concentrations and below are not suitable for controlling odors. This means that if your grow room has an odor problem, and you are using an ozone generator, it is highly likely that you are exposing yourself to harmful levels of ozone. [Bold, color emphasis by Lorraine.] If you run your ozone generator on HIGH in a relatively unventilated area, you can easily reach levels of 1ppm, which is 10 times higher than the maximum recommended level.

Ozone alternatives
In general, DO NOT USE AN OZONE GENERATOR UNLESS THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER SOLUTION TO YOUR ODOR PROBLEM! Do not think of an ozone generator as an easy way to control odors, because you could be putting your own personal health at risk! Cheaper types of ozone generators may use crappy materials in their design, which can cause more problems. The corona discharge method is particularly bad, as the cheap alloys used can give of dangerous oxides. The smell from this may have a 'metallic' scent to it, so keep that in mind when purchasing an ozone generator (or making one, which is not recommended). As a rule, the materials used in an ozone generator should be as unreactive as possible, such as steel, gold and silver. There are some alternatives to ozone as an odor controller, the main one being the 'UV ionizer' and the 'carbon scrubber' which uses activated carbon to remove odors. These options may not be as effective as ozone in some situations.

Lorraine here: There seems to be no end of information on the Internet regarding the health hazards of ozone generators. I'm feeling extreme guilt because I didn't do research earlier. I believed the information provided to the distributors by EcoQuest International, Greenville, Tennessee. I've lost count of the number of units I have sold. I have an inventory that I am now reticent to sell!! Here is another web site with an article titled The Hazards of Ozone & Ozone Gas Generators, by Daniel Friedman, © Copyright 2009.

OZONE HAZARDS - an Overview of the Hazards of Indoor Ozone Gas
Exposure to a level you can smell or exposure to ozone over long periods at levels greater than 0.05 ppm for 24 hours at a time is likely to be dangerous: [2], [3] Health hazards to humans and animals occur and can be severe at ozone levels used for indoor cleaning purposes.

At least some people can smell levels of ozone down to 0.05 ppm. This odor-detection level is already half-way to the recommended limit. If you are generating ozone indoors, even at "low" levels a problem may be present. People become desensitized to odors in a short time, perhaps 20 minutes. So if you do not smell it, the ozone level could still be hazardous.

Problems associated with ozone gas exposure include: [4]
Lung irritation and infection.
Breathing pain, coughing, wheezing, difficulty when exercising.
Permanent lung damage.
Aggravation of pre-existing asthma
Increased risk of lung illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia
Reduced breathing capacity
We elaborate on these ozone hazards and cite exposure standards for ozone at OZONE AIR PURIFIER WARNINGS and at STANDARDS FOR OZONE EXPOSURE.

Skipping down to later paragraphes.

Results of some controlled studies show that concentrations of ozone considerably higher than these standards are possible even when a user follows the manufacturer’s operating instructions.

There are many brands and models of ozone generators on the market. They vary in the amount of ozone they can produce. In many circumstances, the use of an ozone generator may not result in ozone concentrations that exceed public health standards. But many factors affect the indoor concentration of ozone so that under some conditions ozone concentrations may exceed public health standards.

In one study (Shaughnessy and Oatman, 1991), a large ozone generator recommended by the manufacturer for spaces "up to 3,000 square feet," was placed in a 350 square foot room and run at a high setting. The ozone in the room quickly reached concentrations that were exceptionally high--0.50 to 0.80 ppm which is 5-10 times higher than public health limits.

In an EPA study, several different devices were placed in a home environment, in various rooms, with doors alternately opened and closed, and with the central ventilation system fan alternately turned on and off. The results showed that some ozone generators, when run at a high setting with interior doors closed, would frequently produce concentrations of 0.20 - 0.30 ppm. A powerful unit set on high with the interior doors opened achieved values of 0.12 to 0.20 ppm in adjacent rooms. When units were not run on high, and interior doors were open, concentrations generally did not exceed public health standards (US EPA, 1995).

The concentrations reported above were adjusted to exclude that portion of the ozone concentration brought in from the outdoors. Indoor concentrations of ozone brought in from outside are typically 0.01- 0.02 ppm, but could be as high as 0.03 - 0.05 ppm (Hayes, 1991; U.S. EPA, 1996b; Weschler et al., 1989, 1996; Zhang and Lioy; 1994). If the outdoor portion of ozone were included in the indoor concentrations reported above, the concentrations inside would have been correspondingly higher, increasing the risk of excessive ozone exposure.

None of the studies reported above involved the simultaneous use of more than one device. The simultaneous use of multiple devices increases the total ozone output and therefore greatly increases the risk of excessive ozone exposure. [Bold, color emphasis by Lorraine. Remember, I had two units going at the highest setting recommended for "up to 3,000 square feet." My apartment is probably less than 1,000 square feet.]

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