FOLLOWING our article on the use of UVC and ozone for sterilizing CPAP system for sleep apnea and almost any other items at home, we received queries about the use of ozone cleaner, since UVC lamps comes with or without ozone. Natural beneficial germicidal UV-C rays in the stratosphere do not reach us on earth.
What is ozone?
Ozone is activated oxygen (O2) with an added atom of oxygen (O3), a super-charged highly reactive gas. The ozone layer in the stratosphere, encircling the earth, protects us from harmful UV rays from the sun. This is ozone from nature, but there is also ozone that is man-made. A tiny machine available today (5x2x2.5 inches, about the size of a can of soft drink) produces ozone emission, which kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds, mites, some parasites) and deemed safe and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cleaning CPAP machine, masks/nasal pillows, tubing, and accessories.
How is the ozone unit used?
The tubing connected to the machine (heated or not) that is connected to a shorter tube where the mask or nasal pillow is attached to the head gear is connected directly to the ozone-maker gadget. This unit has a one-press button to turn it on and a green light on-indicator. It also has a set timer for 25-minute sterilization dose and automatic shut-off feature, turning off the green light when sanitation is completed. The ozone (03) gives off one atom of oxygen and becomes O2 (regular oxygen we breathe in) in about 30 minutes. There is a 2-hour airing time to allow ozone to dissipate completely together with the post-thunderstorm (ozone) smell. This “waiting period” must be followed diligently.
How much microbes are in our home?
It is mind-boggling but there are trillions of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds, algae, protozoa) in every home, no matter how we clean it in the conventional way. Indeed, there are more microbes in one home than the number of humans (currently 7.72 billion) in the galaxy. While not all of them are pathogens, a significant number of them can cause illnesses of varying degrees, some silent infections which result in continuous inflammation in our body we do not even know or sense. This inflammation increases our risk for the development or aggravation of cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic illnesses, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. Any form of inflammation in us is the enemy of our body, negatively impacting our immune system. Besides microbes, stress, tobacco, vaping (e-cigs), alcohol, lack or exercise, loneliness and bitterness also cause inflammation within us.
Can this gadget sanitize areas or other items?
This ozone-producing unit is being used to sanitize in-sink garbage disposer, closets, drawers, kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, crawl spaces, etc. using the same procedure as stated above. To sanitize shoes, jewelries, cell phones, charger cables, headsets, earbuds, and other small items, use a large plastic bag (like plastic covers from dry cleaners) tied shut on one end. The gas-blowing-output end of the unit is inserted into the “mouth” of the plastic end, and tied around, to seal the bag. The air-intake end of the gadget allows outside air to get into the unit to produce ozone that is pumped into the bag, like a balloon Any enclosure, like a shoe box, a large box (make a hole), a plastic grocery bag, a luggage, a purse, may be used to sanitize objects that fit inside, using a small tube that fits perfectly into the mouth of the gadget, the other end inserted into the hole in the box, to pump in ozone. The house vent could be turned on to get rid of any ozone leak, or the sanitizing could be done outside the home. Ozone also gets rid of the bad odor or musty smell of shoes, slippers, any clothing items, etc.
Can an entire room be sanitized with ozone?
Theoretically, yes, but for homes it is cumbersome, inconvenient, and not practical. For sanitizing an entire room, bathroom, family room, office, bedroom, etc, the use of UV-C lamps is more practical and more efficient. One UV-C lamp with 25 watts (less than $20) could sanitize 400 square foot of space in one hour. For info about the lamp and a small portable collapsible bag sanitizer (for travel) email Shu Wenphone at [email protected]
Is ozone better than chlorine?
Ozone from this machine rapidly oxidizes and destroys other molecules, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and mold, and odors – the reason ozone is used in CPAP cleaning devices. There are several layers of ozone that surround earth, and naturally created by lightning storms and by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It is a bactericidal agent, killing microbes. The smell we sense immediately after a storm or rain is ozone. Ozone as a cleaning agent has been found to be more effective than chlorine and bleaches as cleansing/sterilizing agents. After a 30-minute ozone treatment, at least two hours of “airing” is needed to dissipate the residual ozone. After it does its job, it disappears within an hour. When it dissipates, it releases back an atom of oxygen and is transformed back into oxygen. Ozone at its original concentration right after being generated by the machine is irritating to the eyes, nose, throat, skin, and dangerous to inhale. Ozone does not last long, but a little ozone smell may linger a bit. After two hours and beyond, the CPAP, or other items you sanitize with it, are ready to use. This waiting period for ozone dissipation is very important and must be strictly adhered to.
Is ozone safer than chemicals for cleansing?
With discipline, proper attention and care, ozone sanitizers are safer and more effective than chemical cleaning agents for our home. The ozone gas can reach tiny spaces, nooks, and corners, even on the ceiling, where chemicals like chlorine and other bleaches and cleaning agents could not be used as safely. Chemical fumes are also much more harmful to inhale (unintentionally but could not be helped sometimes) than residual ozone smell. Ozone also removes bad odors in our homes. Releasing an extra atom of oxygen into the atmosphere (as O3 dissipates within an hour, and becomes O2 again) provides a little more oxygen for our environment, and is therefore ecologically better than the chemicals that pollute our respiratory system, our rivers, lakes (our sources of drinking water) and finally the oceans. Although the use of ozone is becoming popular, it is still prudent to do a due diligence before using any method of sanitizing.
Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States. Email: [email protected]