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Hearth and Smoke Restoration: Is Ozone Protected For Policyholders Following Smoke Injury? | Property Insurance coverage Protection Regulation Weblog

A variety of industrial hygienists have expressed opinions that using ozone by restoration contractors is unsafe and shouldn’t be used. The difficulty is that many hearth and smoke restoration corporations use ozone to take away odors, regardless that they’ve been warned about these issues in their very own commerce journal.

A 2022 article printed by Restoration & Remediation Journal, Using Ozone in Hearth Restoration: Is It a Pal or a Foe?, states:

Are There Well being Dangers Related With Utilizing Ozone?

Most of my colleagues within the restoration trade really feel that ozone is pure to our surroundings and comparatively innocent. As an instance this, listed below are some feedback made by a producer of ozone turbines: ‘Ozone is a extremely efficient pure sterilizer that may inactivate virtually any natural contaminant on contact. As it’s a extremely reactive gasoline, ozone regularly reverts again to its most secure kind by releasing considered one of its atoms to show again into oxygen (from O3 to O2). As ozone is a gasoline composed totally of oxygen, it leaves no chemical residue in anyway. The one by-product remaining is contemporary, clear air.’

That sounds fairly superb, proper? Let’s take a better look and see what scientists and authorities companies must say about ozone.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Well being and Security experiences that: ‘Even very low concentrations of ozone will be dangerous to the higher respiratory tract and the lungs. The severity of damage is dependent upon each the focus of ozone and the length of publicity. Extreme and everlasting lung damage or dying may end result from even a really short-term publicity to comparatively low concentrations.’

The U.S. Environmental Safety Company states that ozone publicity will be particularly hazardous for those that have respiratory illnesses resembling bronchial asthma and COPD. Individuals with bronchial asthma are probably affected by ozone in two methods: (1) They may be extra delicate to ozone than different folks, and expertise lung operate modifications and respiratory signs at decrease concentrations or with better magnitude; and (2) the damage, irritation and elevated airway reactivity induced by ozone publicity might worsen an individual’s underlying bronchial asthma.

The Nationwide Institutes of Well being has recognized the next well being results related to ozone publicity: 

  • Nervous system disturbances: Nervous system results apart from narcosis
  • Respiratory results apart from irritation: Cumulative lung harm
  • Respiratory results: Acute lung harm/edema or different
  • Irritation: Eyes, nostril, throat, pores and skin

The article concludes with the next warning:

If you’ll use ozone turbines in indoor environments, take the mandatory precautions to guard employees and occupants. Contemplate the next:

  1. Present occupants and employees with a security information sheet on ozone so everyone seems to be knowledgeable.
  2. Take away or shield any gadgets or supplies which may be adversely affected by ozone publicity.
  3. Arrange correct environmental controls and place warning indicators across the space the place ozone can be used.
  4. Present employees with correct PPE and keep away from working in areas the place ozone is being generated.
  5. When the ozone therapy is full, completely ventilate the realm earlier than permitting employees to reenter.

Conduct air sampling after ozone use to confirm that ozone ranges are secure and that no poisonous chemical compounds or byproducts stay.

The actual query is whether or not hearth and smoke restoration corporations needs to be doing this in any respect. The science means that the degrees of ozone wanted to successfully take away odors creates an unsafe construction throughout and after the method is accomplished.   

The US Environmental Safety Company raised this level by stating in a research, Ozone Turbines which are Bought as Air Cleaners:  

Are Ozone Turbines Efficient in Controlling Indoor Air Air pollution?

Accessible scientific proof exhibits that at concentrations that don’t exceed public well being requirements, ozone has little potential to take away indoor air contaminants.

Some producers or distributors counsel that ozone will render virtually each chemical contaminant innocent by producing a chemical response whose solely by-products are carbon dioxide, oxygen and water. That is deceptive.

  • First, a overview of scientific analysis exhibits that, for most of the chemical compounds generally present in indoor environments, the response course of with ozone might take months or years (Boeniger, 1995). For all sensible functions, ozone doesn’t react in any respect with such chemical compounds. And opposite to particular claims by some distributors, ozone turbines should not efficient in eradicating carbon monoxide (Salls, 1927; Shaughnessy et al., 1994) or formaldehyde (Esswein and Boeniger, 1994).
  • Second, for most of the chemical compounds with which ozone does readily react, the response can kind quite a lot of dangerous or irritating by-products (Weschler et al., 1992a, 1992b, 1996; Zhang and Lioy, 1994). For instance, in a laboratory experiment that blended ozone with chemical compounds from new carpet, ozone decreased many of those chemical compounds, together with these which might produce new carpet odor. Nonetheless, within the course of, the response produced quite a lot of aldehydes, and the entire focus of natural chemical compounds within the air elevated moderately than decreased after the introduction of ozone (Weschler, et. al., 1992b). Along with aldehydes, ozone may enhance indoor concentrations of formic acid (Zhang and Lioy, 1994), each of which might irritate the lungs if produced in ample quantities. Among the potential by-products produced by ozone’s reactions with different chemical compounds are themselves very reactive and able to producing irritating and corrosive by-products (Weschler and Shields, 1996, 1997a, 1997b). Given the complexity of the chemical reactions that happen, extra analysis is required to extra utterly perceive the complicated interactions of indoor chemical compounds within the presence of ozone.
  • Third, ozone doesn’t take away particles (e.g., mud and pollen) from the air, together with the particles that trigger most allergy symptoms. Nonetheless, some ozone turbines are manufactured with an ‘ion generator’ or ‘ionizer’ in the identical unit. An ionizer is a tool that disperses negatively (and/or positively) charged ions into the air. These ions connect to particles within the air giving them a destructive (or constructive) cost in order that the particles might connect to close by surfaces resembling partitions or furnishings, or connect to at least one one other and settle out of the air. In current experiments, ionizers had been discovered to be much less efficient in eradicating particles of mud, tobacco smoke, pollen or fungal spores than both excessive effectivity particle filters or electrostatic precipitators. (Shaughnessy et al., 1994; Pierce, et al., 1996). Nonetheless, it’s obvious from different experiments that the effectiveness of particle air cleaners, together with electrostatic precipitators, ion turbines, or pleated filters varies extensively (U.S. EPA, 1995).

There’s proof to indicate that at concentrations that don’t exceed public well being requirements, ozone will not be efficient at eradicating many odor-causing chemical compounds.

The underside line is that many within the hearth and smoke remediation trade are utilizing these machines that use ozone to take away the smoke odor. The producers promoting these ozone machines need to maintain promoting them. The development is that industrial hygienists are stating opinions that we should always cease utilizing this technique as a result of it’s not secure and citing to scientific papers for proof of their opinions.   

The place are the scientific papers supporting smoke elimination by these ozone machines is secure? I couldn’t discover them.    

Thought For The Day      

It takes management to enhance security.

—Jackie Stewart



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