Using Ozone to Clean up Mould and Toxins

Effectiveness of Ozone Generators 

Ozone kills and denatures mould on surfaces, eliminates many VOCS and odours such as perfume. It can also remediate smoke smell in certain materials. 

I'm using a Jenesco Ozone Generator. I will explain my experience with this machine.

My Results

- Chemical smell in Camplite trailer reduced after a few treatments

- Can go into Camplite trailer without any reactions
- I also had a mould problem in another house I was living in. After the mould was remediated I was still very sick - throat swelling, extreme POTs and terrible insomnia. I then ozonated each room for 24 hours with the machine and was able to come back without any symptoms. I removed all the fabric and cushions from the area before ozonating and there were no adverse chemical reactions with the wood or anything else in the house.
- I've used it 3 times now in post remediations with a 24-hour shock treatment. This for me definitely denatures mycotoxins.
- However one of these times the 24-hour treatment created horrible byproducts. Even after excessive airing out I got extremely sick. It seems as though I overdid the ozone or did not have enough oxygen coming in. Big risk here. I don't know when that house will be safe again, though healthy people have no problem in it. 
Smell removed from funky smelling fabric (towel that had a smell that washing would not remove). - BUT: gave some fabrics like wool and cotton a strange smell. 

Results From my Network on Healclick and Facebook

One Healclick user found it really useful in the car. She says: "I was reacting very badly to the car and it smelled like perfumed cleaning chemicals. I just couldn't be in the car unless I really had to. Now the smell is gone." I have heard the same experience on Facebook as well - ozone helping a lot with fragrance in a car. Two other Healclick users found it useful to shock a room or tent, and to "flash" belongings before any toxins could take hold. These two Healclick users I know well and they are extremely reactive to mould. 

I think this is very useful if fragrance and smoke smell are your big concerns. It is very good to clean up some VOCs as well. I wish I had this when I first bought the Camplite to get rid of the new chemical smell and could have made it usable a lot sooner. 


To remove odours the time needed for treatment is much less than the shock treatment for mould. This will reduce a lot of the risks. 

You have to be sure you are using it safely and understand the limitations -

Safety


- Ozone is a very toxic gas. People and pets should not be in the building when an ozone machine is on. Do not even take one whiff of it. Make sure you have a plan to turn it on and off while holding your breath. Ideally turn it off without entering the room (through the electrical panel). It clings to your clothes even if you hold your breath and walk through - this is not safe.
- Ozone cannot remove carbon monoxide or formaldehyde (EPA).

- Ozone needs to be 5-10 x above safe levels for humans to impact bacteria and mould (Shoemaker).
- The place should be aired out after using ozone to make sure that the gas is not inhaled. Ozone is unstable and will quickly dissipate. If other VOCs form (see below) then it is necessary to air out the place for a while. The half life of ozone is 40 min-25 hours. If byproducts have been created then give it a few days at least. Make sure there are tonnes of open windows for the air out.
- One reason government health sites do not recommend the machines is that the shock treatment used to get rid of mould toxins is a very harmful level if inhaled. Even the low levels recommended as safe by some manufacturers is probably harmful to anyone sensitive to toxins. So there is a huge risk if someone does not know how to use it safely. It is possible they are also wary because of the negative reactions outlined below. In many conventional houses, it might not be possible to avoid all those secondary reactions with materials.

Limitations

- It cannot get into porous materials to remove mould or chemicals (EPA). My experience suggests that it does denature mould that is near the surface of pourous materials. I don't think it goes very deep.
- It will not help with chlorinated hydrocarbons (vinyl, plastics etc.) (EHC)
- Some say 
it kills mould spores but does not denature the toxins (EHC). These two studies show it can denature the toxins. It can still be a good idea to HEPA vacuum after ozonating (note: you can also add a HEPA filter to a shop vac).
- May not work on clothes and shoes (Shoemaker). My experience is that there is a bad reaction with anything cloth. 

Negative Reactions

Ozone reacts negatively with some compounds creating more VOCS. Some of the substances it reacts to are:
- New carpets (EPA)
- Active tobacco smoke (EPA)
- Terpenes (to form formaldehyde) (CDH)
- Styrene (EHC)
- Floor finish that contains pinine (Shoemaker)

- Ceiling tiles (from a client of mine) 
- Old carpet (from a client of mine)
- Cotton and wool and any other textile (from my experience)

- Wallpaper (from a client)

Side Effects 

High doses of ozone used to really clear out mould toxins will also degrade or harm certain materials such as:
- Plants
- Rubber
- Coating of electrical wires
- Fabric
- Some Artwork
(EPA)


For a shock treatment, remove everything fabric or wrap them in plastic, this includes mattresses. Remove plants, pets, and artwork that is not behind glass. Tape up electrical outlets. Remove all electronics. Make sure you have everything you need before turning the machine on. Hold your breath while turning it on and while turning it off. Air out the place with fresh air for 24 hours. This are based on my experiences. 

Make sure you research if this is safe for you and worth the risk. Understand why the EPA does not recommend it. It is too easy to do something wrong where you could breathe some in. Treat it like the deadly gas that it is. If you are not sure if it will react with your carpet, walls, ceiling then it is a last resort treatment. You can also test a low dose first to see if any weird smells form.  

Make sure it is dosed correctly for the space and if running it for 24 hours it needs an oxygen source. Overdoing it can make your place intolerable. I recently had a bad experience where I overdid it with the ozone. I caused some extremely toxic byproducts. Airing it out for days has not helped. It may take months to be safe again. It's hard to know what went wrong but I got extremely sick from the byproducts smell. The most acute chemical reaction I have ever had. And that was 24 hours after airing out the place so it wasn't ozone that I was breathing it would seem, though it felt like it. I was only in the house for 10 min. 

Sources:

EPA: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html
CDA: http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/environmental_health/eoha/pdf/ozone_generator_fact_sheet.pdf
EHC: http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/summer96ozone.html
Shoemaker: http://www.survivingmold.com/legal-resources/environmental/ozone-generators-and-interior-mold-remediation-a-recipe-for-disaster

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11 comments:

  1. What is a good home mixture to remove blackmold? I believe a mixture of bleach and soap and water works, but I'm not sure.
    insulation inspection

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    Replies
    1. We physically remove mold in the properties we purchase. If a wall shows mold on the interior of the drywall, we take out the drywall to examine the studs. The studs almost always show mold, in which case we remove the wall down to the wall plate to reach the concrete foundation wall. Bleach does not reach the roots of the mold, the EPA has essentially admitted it doesn't work for cleanup, after many years of advocating it.

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  2. We have an ongoing mold problem in our bathroom. I’ve been cleaning it with bleach every month or so for the past year, but it always comes back. I wonder if the mold is somewhere behind the walls and ceiling and I haven’t actually been killing most of the mold.

    I think one of the hardest things to do is pull out mold, mildew and gunk from in between the tiles in the bathroom.

    We have hired the professional of andersenenviro and they have provided positive results, now we are free from any toxins in our home.

    I have never heard the idea of Ozone to Clean up Toxins. Will surely use this for nest time.

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  3. In what negative ways exactly will an ozone shock treatment affect older carpeting?

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    Replies
    1. It reacts with all cloth materials to form a biproduct. It has a very weird smell and hard to describe.

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  4. In what negative ways exactly will an ozone shock treatment affect older carpeting?

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  5. How do you protect the ozone machine itself from becoming contaminated (with mold/mycotoxins)...and then cross-contaminating a different space?

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    Replies
    1. The ozone at high doses breaks down the mycotoxins so I'm not sure how the machine would become contaminated.

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  6. If there is a smell in fabrics after using ozone machine for 24 hours, is there any way to get rid of it? And how might go go about getting rid of any residual smell in the house after 24 hours?

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete