What Does Ozone Smell Like?

Before we jump into ozone smell and why you should be cautious, let's talk about ozone generator. Yes THE device that many researches including EPA has warn us about its danger. It amazes us that till today, manufacturers still manage to market it as air purifier. In this post, we are going to touch on what is ozone and what is it the purpose. At the end of the post, we will touch on how can you detect ozone gas through its notorious smell.
Short answer
Ozone has a clear, pungent, burned wire smell.


The Good: Ozone In The Stratosphere

The mother earth protective barrier. The ozone layer in the stratosphere sits between 6 and 30 miles above the Earth’s surface. It protects us from direct sunlight ultraviolet radiation that can cause cataracts and skin cancer. This phenomenon is everlasting as the ozone layer will replenish itself over time. Sadly, man-made chemicals from vehicles and factories are causing the ozone layer to deteriorate. Scientists referred to these types of chemicals as ozone-depleting substances (ODS). ODS will slowly make its way to the stratosphere and break down from the sun’s UV radiation. This causes the release of radicals, chlorine, bromine that degrade the ozone layer. Without the “good” ozone layer protection, the intensity of sunlight radiation will cause burn damage to plants and other living organisms.

The Bad: Ozone In The Troposphere

Here comes the bad side: When ozone is in the Troposphere zone, it is an air pollutant because of the harmfulness it can deal with all living organisms. Ozone at this level will form a chemical reaction between oxide nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are a colorless toxic gas that is emitted from a car, power plant, and factory. Because it is closer to the surface of the earth, there is a potential risk of us breathing into it. The danger escalate when bright sunlight and heat boosted the ozone concentration level in the air with wind help spreading its toxicity. People that stay close to mining and the industrial area would be the biggest hit but the pollutions could even cover a radius of hundreds of miles.

What Does Ozone Smell Like?

The word ozone is derived from the Greek verb ozein, which basically means “smell.” Even at a small concentration level, we would be still able to scent ozone distinctive smell. Some might describe the smell as pungent, some consider it as chlorine, some even put it as metallic. In our humble opinion, ozone has a mildly burned wire/ electronic smell that is unique of its own. In short, the stronger and sharper an ozone smell, the higher concentrations level it is in the air, the greater exposure it will be.

Are Ozone Machines Safe?

No, it is not safe. An ozone generator is a harmful, hazardous machine that should never be used. You don’t put away fire with more fire. Ozonator intentionally emits ozone gas so it can disinfect microorganisms, smoke, and odor at a molecule level. While in theory, this may work, a lot of times it only masks away from the smell. Worse still, you will be left in a room full of ozone that is more harmful than all the contaminants combined. Also, it will take 30 minutes to 3-4 hours for ozone to dissipate and you will need to evacuate the room for the time being.

Another issue with ozone generator is not regulated by any federal agency. This is contrary to the manufacturers that claim their Ozonator is safe and approved by a government entity. It is not worth risking yourself and your family health at the hands of the vendor.

Ozone Health Effects

Inhaling to ozone even in small concentration level will have detrimental effects on our respiratory system. Studies have shown if a person is exposed to ozone for up to 8 hours, the following symptoms might occur:

  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lung irritation

Long-term exposure to ozone is significantly worst with irreversible damage. It will lead to an asthma attack and respiratory disorders like:

  • Pneumonia (inflammation airways)
  • Bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchial tubes)
  • Permanent scarring in the lung
  • Decrease in lung capacity
  • Decrease in body immune system

Who’s At Risk The Most

No one is excluded from ozone exposure health risk. Children in particular, are the biggest victim due to their developing immune system. People suffering from asthma or elderly are also in the list due to their weakened immune system. Lastly, people with vitamin C and E deficiencies are also in a higher risk group.

Before we go into details, let's kick start with the safety precautions you could take to reduce ozone exposure. First and foremost, stop using any Ozonator or ozone generator. Indoor ozone contributes around 40% to 75% of the overall exposure. These devices are all death traps masked as air purifiers or ionizers to confuse the consumer. Stop it. Second, check outdoor air quality from your trusted site. If the air quality is bad, stay indoor and keep all doors and windows shut. Whatever outdoor activities you planned, substitute it with indoor activities. Examples, online grocery shopping, home exercise, online chatting, or gaming. If there are things you must do outside, consider doing it in the evening or night where the temperature is much cooler.

Staying indoor, get an air purifier with an activated carbon filter to help reduce ozone levels at home. Again, we recommend choosing an ozone-free air purifier that utilizes mechanical filter than any other type. If you smell something peculiar but not necessarily pungent, it's a good sign the air needs to be filtered. Lastly, stop or replace any gas appliances like stove, fireplace, gas heater with electronic appliances. We do not want to further contribute to any more ozone pollution.

What Is Ozone

Ozone is a natural gas that is produced by ultraviolet light from the Sun. Each molecule consists of 3 oxygen atoms (O3). Ozone occurs in 2 layers of the atmosphere: the top stratosphere and the bottom troposphere. In the atmosphere, ozone acts as a shield to protect against the sun’s UV rays. At ground level (troposphere), ozone is air pollution that will trigger chemical reactions with other particulates.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.
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