Does Ozone Damage Plastic or Rubber?

The rumor that ozone can damage rubber or plastic in a home is a very dated topic.  So, let's clear this up.  To make the point properly, let's go back to what ozone is and how it works.  Ozone is oxygen.  It has been enriched from the standard O2 molecule to an O3 molecule.  We are told that ozone is "Reactive", which means it will react with other compounds or elements.  That reaction is not an explosion or a noxious gas.  The reaction is OXIDATION.  By the way, normal exposure to O2 oxygen and/or UV light will react on the same compounds or elements.

Case in point, you live in Texas and leave your car parked outside.  Without adequate and periodic care, the paint on the car will oxide (turn color and flake away).  The dash and seat will harden and crack.  A tire left to sit out in the Texas sun will loose pliability, harden and crack.  This is the exact same reaction you will find with ozone, with one difference ... ozone speeds up the aging process.  Now, this is not aging times 100, but this is the facts behind the myths.

The curing/aging process is something we can actually benefit from.  Manufacturing companies can cure products more quickly with a period of ozone exposure.  

We also benefit from the oxidizing process because the extra oxygen atom that is terms "Reactive or Loose" will break off and destroy pathogens by burning holes in the outer membrane.  Thus, we have a powerful, non-chemical sanitizing agent.  Dentist are now using aqueous ozone to treat tooth decay and gingivitis.  Aquariums, pools, and water treatment plants are using ozone to sanitize the water.

Ozone destroys odors in the same basic way.  Ozone does not mask odors.  It literally "Burns Them Up" in the very slow process of oxidation.  Ozone solves the odor problem at the source.  

So, what about the not-so-secret hype about ozone melting the rubber seals on a refridgerator, destroying the padding under carpet, or harming electronics?  In the last ten years, we have had NO DOCUMENTED CASE where an ozone treatment has damaged any soft plastic or rubber.  But, there is still an element of truth behind the hype.  Years ago, small ozone generators were rated at 1000, 2500, and 5000 mg/hr.  To treat a home, people would run these small ozone generators for one day to one week.  Therefore, the incremental concern for damage from ozone did happen in isolated cases.

Today, professional ozone generators are producing 20,000, 30,000, and 40,000 mg/hr that achieve "Shock Level Ozone" treatments.  Treatments can be applied in 1 to 4 hours, and the actual reports of damage are nonexistant.  

To compare an idea, suppose a piece of wood was wet for 24 hours then dried out.  The changes of mold forming are very small, as long as it stays dry.  If you let that piece of wood stay damp or wet for four or five days, and mold is almost guaranteed.  Let a glass set on your end table for 5 minutes and you can probably wipe away the moisture with no effect.  Let that glass sit there overnight, and a permenant ring will never go away.

Reports of damage from ozone were the result of: #1- An amatuer who used the equipment far too long, or #2- The use of a too-small ozone generator with ran too long.  Read the small print on many of the small-type ozone generators to find that they still recommend ozone treatments for 8, 12, 24, and 48 hours.  

Yes, ozone can be misused and abused.  If these are the only reports we hear, then ozone's reputation is damaged.  However, I find that anyone looking into the proper uses of ozone are going to be very positive about the smart ways ozone can be used.  Dig a little deeper, and your will find that ozone is being used therapeutically for many health concerns.  Other Oxidizing Processes