HOW DOES OZONE CLEAN AIR?
Ozone is in the air around us all the time. It occurs naturally in the environment and is simply activated oxygen – think of the fresh smell following a thunderstorm and that’s ozone.
Ozone works as a natural cleaner. When it comes into contact with an odour (a volatile organic compound) a chemical reaction takes place and the odour oxidises into a harmless, non-odourous substance.
It is not a masking process – the smells are permanently removed.
Ozone also works as a natural sanitising agent. It kills most bacteria, pathogens and viruses, including E-coli and MRSA, and leaves treated areas hygienically clean.
DESTROYING UNPLEASANT ODOURS
Ozone is a very strong oxidizer. As it oxidizes a substance ozone will literally destroy the substance’s molecules.
Odour problems originate from numerous sources including bacteria, moulds, smoking, chemical fumes, cooking and pets. Odours can be big problem when they are affixed to clothing, furniture fabrics, or carpets. Mould and fungus contamination are another major source of unpleasant odours and creates a musty, stale odour which can be both an annoyance and a health issue to those suffering from allergies or asthma.
Traditional odour removal consists of masking the odour with a less offensive odour, or removing the odour by using strong chemicals or filtering systems. However, air filters require the air in the room to be pulled through the filter and cannot remove odours embedded into clothing, furniture fabrics and carpets. Masking the unpleasant odour is only a short term solution to the problem.
When ozone comes in contact with organic compounds or bacteria, the extra atom of oxygen destroys the contaminant by oxidation. Ozone decomposes to oxygen after being used so no harmful by-products result.
Ozone will neutralise virtually all organic odours, specifically those that contain carbon as their base element. This will include all the bacteria and fungus groups as well as smoke, decay, and cooking odours.
IMPROVING INFECTION CONTROL
A successful infection control program can not only help reduce mortality and morbidity rates in care facilities but can also be very cost-effective for health care organisations. Considering that one third of all nosocomial infections are preventable, prevention and control measures need to be a priority for any health care organisation.
To fight infections which occur in health care settings an approach using various integrated prevention measures is considered the most effective. This includes such measures as good hygiene practices by health care employees, invasive medical devices free from contamination, therapy pool disinfectant programmes, and continuous disinfecting of rooms and equipment throughout the health care facility.
Disinfecting means the use of a chemical procedure to eliminate virtually all recognised pathogenic micro organisms but not necessarily all microbial forms on inanimate objects. Antimicrobials such as iodine, chlorhexidine, 70% isopropyl alcohol solution, and hexachlorophene are frequently used in hospitals and other health care facilities. Chlorhexidine and hexachlorophene are active against many micro organisms but are less effective against gram-negative bacteria.
Ozone is a powerful, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent that has been found to be effective against bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa, and bacterial and fungal spores. The anti-microbial activity of ozone is based on its strong oxidizing effect, which causes damage to the fatty acids in the cell membrane.
A big problem in controlling infections is that some strains of bacteria can actually build up a resistance to certain chemical disinfectants. Ozone, on the other hand, kills bacteria within a few seconds by a process known as cell lysing. Ozone molecularly ruptures the cellular membrane, disperses the cell’s cytoplasm and makes reactivation impossible. Because of this, micro organisms cannot develop ozone resistant strains, thus eliminating the need to change biocides periodically.
Because of application advantages such as this, ozone fits in well with other disinfectants in a combined strategy to prevent nosocomial infections.