Is ozone harmful to humans?
Ozone is considered a useful gas. In small doses, it improves the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, oxygen transport in the blood, peripheral circulation, stimulates immunity, promotes the production of biologically active substances. Ecologists are anxious about ozone holes. But few people pay attention to this gas, which is present in everyday life.
If you accidentally inhale a large amount of it, it is easy to get poisoning. Where can one encounter a toxic amount of ozone? What is this substance? What are the symptoms of poisoning? How to treat and how to prevent intoxication?
Where it is possible to encounter toxic doses of ozone
The main cause of the detrimental effect of O 3 on an ordinary person is exhaust fumes and industrial emissions containing volatile hydrocarbons and other substances. On sunny days, when the level of radiation in the atmosphere rises, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbon gases begin to turn into ozone. In the hot summer not only in big cities, but also in suburban areas, the concentration of ozone in the air exceeds the permissible norms by a factor of 10.
Ozone agents are also affected by people working in the workplace, where ozonizers are used. Especially often poisoning is received by the attendants. The rocket industry uses liquid ozone as an oxidant.
Ozone is a remarkable oxidizer, therefore it is widely used not only in industry, but also in medicine for the purpose of disinfection of premises, clothing, materials.
In the 21st century, household ozonizers were produced, which every person can buy into his home. Manufacturers position them as disinfectors for basements, living quarters (for example, after virus diseases of family members), warehouses, etc. But side effects, precautions are not always written, and users often ignore this information, resulting in ozone poisoning happen and in everyday life.
There is such a section of medicine as ozone therapy, where this substance is applied externally, orally, intravenously. The efficacy of the methods has not been clinically proven. But carcinogenic and toxic effects on parenteral administration have been proven. In most countries, ozone therapy is not recognized as traditional medicine, and it can only be applied with the patient's written consent.
What is ozone
Ozone - what kind of gas is it? It is a natural gas consisting of three oxygen molecules (O 3 ). It is formed in the upper layers of the atmosphere by the action of sun rays from O 2 and atomic oxygen. The gas has a specific smell - it can be felt during a thunderstorm.
Ozone, depending on the aggregate state, temperature and pressure, has the ability to change color. Under normal conditions, the gas has a purple hue. When the atmospheric pressure rises, it becomes darker and turns into a bluish one. In the liquid state, it is dark blue, and solid - almost black.
Ozone molecules are unstable and, formed in the atmosphere, it is converted into ordinary oxygen after ten minutes.
Ozone is a gas that has the properties of a strong oxidizer. It is able to oxidize almost all chemical elements that are metals or do not have such properties.
Harmful or useful gas for human ozone? First consider the positive effect of this substance.
- The ozone layer protects the Earth from the harmful effects of solar radiation.
- Has a curative effect, killing germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi).
- Improves the process of breathing in living organisms, peripheral movement of blood.
- Reduces blood clotting.
- Has antioxidant effect.
- Starts the synthesis of biologically active substances in the body.
- Stimulates hemopoiesis and the immune system.
- It can reduce pain, remove toxins from the body.
Such an effect on human gas of ozone is observed at a normal dose. Now let's see what dose should be considered normal.
WHO has established the maximum allowable concentrations of this substance in the air:
- for a residential area up to 30 mkg / m 3 ;
- for industrial - up to 100 mkg / m 3 ;
- single maximum dose of 0.16 mg / m³.
In reality, the level of O 3 in the air exceeds the permissible level several times. And when the sun is hot and hot, and 10 times. The more smoke in the city's air, the more ozone it contains in the heat. Sometimes in summer in densely populated megacities can be observed concentration of 1 thousand mkg / m 3 .
Effects on humans
Is ozone harmful to humans? Ozone belongs to the highest toxicity class. He is inferior even to chlorine and cyanide. Symptoms of ozone poisoning are due to:
- irritating action on the respiratory tract;
- stimulation of atherosclerosis;
- harmful effects on the reproductive system of men (with prolonged and systematic contact may cause infertility);
- aggravation of existing allergies;
- exacerbation of cardiovascular diseases.
Signs of ozone poisoning occur almost immediately after contact. Getting into the respiratory tract, it causes a sensation in the throat, burning sensation and pain behind the sternum, difficulty breathing, headache. Then the person feels that it is difficult for him to take a deep breath, so his breathing becomes intermittent, frequent, superficial. With a longer exposure in the bronchi and alveoli, structural changes occur. There is bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, bronchospasm in healthy people or exacerbation of bronchial asthma in those suffering from this disease. The volume of breathing decreases. Delayed effects of ozone are neurological disorders (absent-mindedness, decreased attention).
Effects on the eyes, ozone causes watery eyes, rubbing, pain in the eyes, sometimes loss of vision.
With systematic contact, not only respiratory functions are violated. There is anemia, clotting disorders, bleeding and hemorrhage, blood pressure rises, heart and kidney diseases appear, and the secretory capacity of the stomach decreases. Oxidation processes also suffer. Harmful radicals circulate throughout the body, damaging the cells. O 3 increases the likelihood of premature death from heart disease.
Poisonous gas ozone is a carcinogen. It has a damaging effect on the deoxyribonucleic acid of the cells, causing mutations.
In production conditions, contact with liquid O 3 is possible. In this case, deep frostbite occurs, as the crystallization temperature is close to -200 ° C.
First aid for poisoning
Treatment of ozone poisoning should first of all be to provide immediate assistance to the victim. The first aid for poisoning with this gas is:
- in the supply of fresh air;
- in giving a semi-sitting position;
- if a stoppage of breathing occurs, artificial ventilation of the lungs should be made.
At any degree of poisoning, you need to seek medical help!
When frost-bitten with liquid ozone, clothing at the place of contact should not be removed. You can only wash the wound with water.
If the eyes are affected, they should also be rinsed with plenty of water.
How to exclude the harmful effect on the body of ozone? To do this, try not to be on a gassed street in the hot daylight. Do not play sports in the cities outdoors in the sunny hours. It is better to do this in the morning or evening in enclosed premises or in the countryside.
At the factory, adequate supply and exhaust ventilation (exhaust) must be provided in the workplace. Protective devices, ozone level sensors, tightness of containers should be used. The residence time in the contact area should be limited.
Household ozonizers should only be purchased from a reliable and trustworthy manufacturer who provides clear instructions to the product, gives a guarantee for it, indicates precautions when working with it.
Such a harmless and even useful at first glance substance, can be very poisonous. Poisoning with ozone can have severe consequences not only for respiratory organs, but also for the reproductive, nervous, cardiovascular system. Ozone is a known carcinogen. Its long-term exposure leads to the appearance of cancerous tumors in the body. All, and especially those who are in contact with ozone in industry, should know the main symptoms of poisoning and be able to provide first aid to the victim.