How to remove Virus and Bacteria from the room -Ozone Disinfection of SARS, Noro Virus etc,-Contaiminated Areas
Virus Bacteria removal:
Why do we need air disinfection?
The outbreak of SARS worldwide in March 2003 has increased people awareness of the transmission of respiratory diseases in indoor environment. Evidences show that SARS could survive on respiratory droplets for up to several days and people breathing air containing these droplets will be at high risk to get the diseases. Therefore, there is a need for a reliable and efficient air disinfection method to decontaminate these high-risk areas.
Technologies for air disinfection
The most common air disinfection method is using ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation (UV-C) kills bacteria and viruses by damaging the DNA/RNA of the cells of microorganisms. However, UV radiation could only disinfect air close to the lamps as UV light has limited penetration capacity. In case of SARS contaminated room, UV disinfection alone is not adequate to provide virus-free environment for us.
Another well-known air cleaning method is to employ High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filter can capture particulate sizes down to 0.3 microns, and so bacteria with size larger than 0.3 microns could be trapped in the filter. Although HEPA filters are effective in reducing airborne bacteria in air, it is not effective to remove viruses, which are nanometer (10-9 m) in size. Also, air must pass through the filter in order for it to be cleaned. Hence HEPA filters can only clean air that is within a short distance of the HEPA unit. These drawbacks make HEPA filters become an unsatisfactory candidate for disinfection of SARS contaminated areas.
Chemical disinfectants could also be used for air disinfection, usually by means of vaporizing or spraying. However, these chemical disinfectants are usually difficult to decompose, leaving toxic chemical residues that are hazardous to human health.
Ozone is a well-known powerful oxidizer which could kill microorganisms effectively. Ozone applications in water and waste water treatments are well-documented and it is widely used by most of the modern cities. Although studies for using ozone to disinfect air are relatively limited, experimental results indicate that ozone could also be an effective air disinfectant as in water. For example, Kowalski investigated the bactericidal effects of high ozone concentrations on E. coli and S. aureus and concluded that more than 99.99% death rate was achieved for both species after ozonation.
In addition to the strong oxidizing power of ozone, properties of ozone also help it to be an ideal aerial disinfectant. In contrast to UV radiation and HEPA filter, ozone is a gas that could penetrate to every corners of the room, thus it could disinfect the entire room effectively. As ozone is unstable, it is readily converted back to oxygen, leaving no harmful residual ozone after disinfection.
Although ozone is success as an aerial disinfectant in laboratory experiments , its effectiveness in real situation needs to be further explored. In this article, the effectiveness of ozone in disinfection of a conference room will be evaluated and discussed.
Virus Bacteria removal – Disinfection capacity of ozone
Ozone (O3) is an unstable gas comprising three atoms of oxygen. It is unstable because the gas will readily degrade back to its stable state, diatomic oxygen (O2) with the formation of free oxygen atoms or free radicals. The free oxygen atoms or radicals are highly reactive and they will oxidize almost anything (including viruses, bacteria, organic and inorganic compounds) in contacts, making ozone an enormously powerful disinfectant and oxidizer.
In fact, ozone is a much stronger oxidizer than other common disinfectants such as chlorine and hypochlorite. The usage of chlorine or hypochlorite in many countries has been decreased significantly due to the possibility formation of carcinogenic by-products such as trihalomethanes (THM) during the disinfection process. In contrast, ozone disinfection does not produce any harmful residues, and all the residual ozone will be converted back to oxygen within a short time. Ozone is therefore considered as an environmentally friendly disinfectant.
Given its superior strength and effectiveness as an oxidant and biocide, ozone becomes one of the dominant water treatment technologies in Europe and America. But its application in air disinfection is not as popular as water due to the concern on ozone’s toxicity. Ozone with concentration higher than 1 ppm has adverse effects on human health and the use of ozone for air disinfection is generally not recommended if people are around. Therefore, air disinfection using ozone should be restricted to unoccupied room only.
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