We often get asked about the value of ozone, what it is and why Airetrex 365™ doesn’t use it. There’s a lot of information out there, and we want to set the record straight.
First, some science.
At certain wavelengths, ultraviolet light causes oxygen (O2) molecules to break apart into two oxygen (O) atoms. These “singlet” oxygens aren’t particularly stable, and they often form bonds with other pairs of oxygen—creating the trioxide molecule we call ozone (O3).
You might be familiar with “the ozone layer” of earth’s upper atmosphere, which is the result of this reaction on a planetary scale. When the UV sunlight interacts with the oxygen in the atmosphere, those molecules naturally separate and rejoin into triplet bonds.
But here’s the problem: ozone is great for atmospheres, but not so great for humans.
Even for short periods of time, breathing ozone can cause a multitude of respiratory, cardiovascular and central nervous system problems. For that reason, the EPA uses the catchy reminder that ozone is “good up high; bad nearby.”
What does it mean for UV-C?
Does that mean all UV filters are dangerous? Not at all. In fact, the majority of UV-C filters (including Airetrex) are physically incapable of producing ozone.
Splitting oxygen atoms requires a lot of energy. And when it comes to wave particles, more energy means tighter wavelengths. Only light shorter than 240 nanometers in wavelength has enough energy to turn oxygen into ozone. In other words, if your UV filter has a wavelength greater than 240nm (Airetrex’s bulb uses 254nm), you have nothing to worry about.
But be careful: not all UV air filters are automatically ozone-free. Some filters (particularly ionizers) rely on ozone generators for cleaning. And while ozone undoubtedly does have some purification benefits, it also carries the same risks as any other kind of ozone.
Many experts recommend that you wait up to four hours before re-entering a room cleaned with ozone purification technology. If you’ve ever encountered a home air filter that required the room to be empty and the windows to be open, that’s probably why.
For us, ozone’s potential benefits don’t outweigh its substantial risks. You won’t find ozone in Airetrex, because we think ozone should stay up in the atmosphere—where it belongs.