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Dr J Sublett, Leading Allergist

Ozone and Ultraviolet Energy In Nature

Ozone is naturally produced by the process of sunlight on oxygen molecules. This photochemical process is know as "solar photolysis". Sunlight breaks down some of the oxygen molecules into single atoms, which combine with other oxygen molecules to make ozone. Ozone is also created by the high electrical discharge of lightning. The chemical formula is:

 
 

This triatomic form (O3) of oxygen is formed naturally in the upper atmosphere by a photochemical reaction with solar ultraviolet radiation. Ozone in the upper atmosphere (the Ozone Layer) absorbs much of the sun's intense ultraviolet radiation, thus protecting the earth from these damaging rays. Ozone is also measured in trace amounts in the lower atmosphere of earth and is Nature's way of oxidizing toxic gases, breaking them down into harmless component molecules.

 

Ultraviolet energy and ozone are not naturally present in our indoor air environment.  Our indoor air is also the perfect breeding ground for microorganisms such as mold, bacteria, and fungi. Without Nature's control, these organisms thrive in damp basements, crawl spaces, furnaces and ductwork. Since the early 1970's we have tightened up the construction of our homes to conserve energy. Now, these tight homes lock in the the precious heating and air conditioning, but they also prevent the toxic compounds in carpeting, building materials, cleaning chemicals, other allergens, airborne particles, and infectious agents from leaving our homes.

 

Ultraviolet energy from the sun is invisible and its wavelengths are measures in nanometers.  The Ozone Layer absorbs most harmful levels of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.  Continuous direct exposure to these UV rays is damaging to the skin and can cause skin cancer.

However, this same ultraviolet energy is also harmful to invisible micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria, molds, fungi, and other bioaerosols.  These UV rays are Nature's way of controlling the overgrowth of micro-organisms in our outdoor environment. Without this energy, microorganisms would proliferate to dangerous levels.

Articles on UV Energy

Everyday cleaning chemicals and personal care products can contain harmful compounds. The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study on this issue. Read more about it at the: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

 

For more information on tight homes, go to: IAQ Facts and Danger Levels. We now live in and breathe a chemical soup that may be a significant factor in respiratory ill-health. A recent study published in the September, 2003 issue of Environmental Science & Technology is the most comprehensive indoor air analysis to date. This study confirms how serious the problem is and how our contaminated indoor air environment negatively effects our health.

OxyQuantum Dual Wavelength UVC and UVV Germicidal and Ozone Systems

 

The solution to indoor air pollution concerns is to duplicate Nature's outdoor controls indoors. Ultraviolet energy and ozone can be created by man through this same photochemical process by using high output ultraviolet lamps positioned inside your existing ductwork. Dual wavelength UVC and UVV lamps are used in the Nature's Home OxyQuantum duct mount UV system for whole-house air disinfecting and odor control.

Nature's Home systems can accommodate just the germicidal lamps, or both germicidal  and ozone-producing lamps

Unlike stand-alone "air purifiers" that cannot circulate air, Nature's Home systems are installed in your ductwork and take advantage of the concentrated air that is passing through the ducts. As the cooled or heated air is forced through the ducts and passes in front of the ultraviolet light, microorganisms are killed or disabled.

The OxyQuantum duct mount system uses one or two patented U-shaped dual wavelength ultraviolet lamps. Ultraviolet-C light measures at 254 nanometers and is the germicidal range (UVC), which is commonly called "UVC". Its primary use is for the destruction and control of bacteria and other microorganisms in the air. The U-shaped lamp and reflective mirror on the OxyQuantum systems increases the intensity of the high output lamps allowing them to deactivate and control a higher percentage of microorganisms on every pass. Multiple pass effectiveness is the highest in the industry.

The second wavelength of light produced by the OxyQuantum lamps is measured at 185 nanometers and is commonly referred to as UVV or ozone. Its primary use is to oxidize toxic compounds and gases for a safer and odor-free environment.

 

A recent study published by The Lancet medical journal (November 29, 2003) and reported by CNN and USA Today found that the use of UV lights in the ducts of office buildings reduced overall worker sickness by 20%, including a 40% drop in breathing problems and a reduction of up to 50% of other health related symptoms. This is a significant double-blind multiple crossover trial showing the positive effects of ultraviolet germicidal lights in an office environment. You will experience this same effect in your home environment with an OxyQuantum system installed in your ducts.

This Thing Called Ozone

The EPA warns of the harmful effects of room air purification systems that create ozone. We agree with the EPA that the higher levels of ozone produced by these room air purifiers can cause harmful side effects. Due to this fact, Nature's Home does not promote the use of any air cleaner that produces ozone directly into the living space. Our OxyQuantum units are installed in your duct work and produce low levels of ozone inside the ducts, not in the living area. As the ozone lamp does its work of oxidizing toxic compounds and gases carried by the air flow, it breaks down into harmless component molecules. The OxyQuantum is certified by the American Institute of Toxicology to produce only safe levels of UVV (ozone).

 

The EPA states that safe levels of ozone measure at .05 ppm (parts per million) or less in an indoor air environment. OSHA's safe levels are .10 ppm in the work place for an 8 hour period. Purdue University, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology published a study on the testing of the OxyQuantum system within a typical air handling duct system: Conclusion: The data clearly indicate that trivalent oxygen inhibits spore production by Aspergillus flavus at concentration below the safety levels set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); 0.05 ppm for a 24 hour exposure and 0.1 ppm for an 8 hour exposure. In fact measurements taken at 10 feet away from the OxyQuantum inside the duct were reported at .03 ppm.

Too Much of A Good Thing is Bad

It is common knowledge that high levels of anything is dangerous, but in small quantities is helpful. For example, when you have a headache do you take two aspirins or the whole bottle? Did you know that there are toxic levels of vitamins, antibiotics and even food items?

 

An analogy:  To prevent bacteria and green stuff from growing in a swimming pool, would you fill the whole pool with bleach?  No, that would be dangerous, even deadly, levels of chlorine.  Yet you put low levels of chlorine or other germicides in the pool to keep the water clean, clear and healthy. We even drink minute quantities of chlorine in municipal water systems.

 

Everyone thinks of oxygen as a safe substance. The air you breathe consists of only 19% oxygen. Higher levels of oxygen can cause blindness and even be deadly. The same is true of ozone.  Low levels of ozone in our air is safe and beneficial to our health. High amounts above EPA and OSHA safe levels can be an irritant and cause negative health effects.

 

It's all about control, safety, and the health benefits achieved with the OxyQuantum. Please contact our IAQ hotline to talk to an Indoor Air Quality Specialist about the health benefits of whole-house air cleaning and having the right OxyQuantum product sized for your furnace and air conditioning system.

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