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Is ozone dangerous?

If ozone gas (O3) is not used in a proper way, it will be dangerous (as it happens with other gases on a daily basis). Oxygen itself (O2), is an essential element for our life, but according to specific conditions (high partial pressures – high concentration) it is toxic and lethal for human organism. Ozone gas is the most powerful oxidizing that can be used in technical field and this characteristic is the basis of its employment for processing in penned areas, food industry, disinfection of drinking water, industrial water, water for swimming pools and waste water. Current legislation in force limits the exposition of ozone gas concentration in the air to which workers are exposed:

  • TLV – TWA (ACGIH) 0,1 ppm (0,2 mg/mc);
  • TLV – STEL (ACGIH) 0,3 ppm (0,6 mg/mc).
Given its distinctive smell, it is already possible to smell ozone gas at low and harmless concentration: considering this, people exposed to risks are informed in advance and can avoid the contact with high and potentially dangerous concentrations which are detrimental to health. In spite of this, perceived smell does not constitute a reliable indication about the concentration index in the air because, in a short time, inurement occurs. According to its concentration, ozone gas emanates smell of cloves, hay and chlorine. The threshold value for perceiving the smell is ~0,02 mg/m3 (~0,01 ppm), with MAK value (that is to say the maximum permitted concentration in the workplace in Germany) which amounts to 0,2 mg/m3 (~0,1 ppmv) or 0,1 ml/m3.

However, research and technology help us by providing us necessary knowledge for the achievement the goal: using ozone gas in total safety and at the maximum of its beneficial properties.