Several news stories have hit the headlines lately regarding ozone exposure incidents. For the most part, these have involved contractors or employees that were not directly involved with the use of ozone at these facilities. In other words, the individuals exposed were not familiar with the basics of ozone safety, but they were exposed to ozone nonetheless.
While these incidents can certainly become overblown by mainstream media (as media will do), that makes them no less significant to the ozone industry – it is public perception that counts. Where truth and media coverage collide, media coverage always has the upper hand. The matter is complicated further when ozone exposure incidents lead to civil suits – miring ozone-use facilities and ozone manufacturers in substantial legal expense and additional bad publicity.
Unfortunately, it is possible that these recent incidents could have been avoided if more care had been given to proper ozone detection equipment and proper ozone safety procedures. Whether you have a facility using ozone or are a manufacturer producing ozone systems, this is a lesson that needs to be taken to heart.
OSHA requirements dictate that ozone levels cannot exceed 0.1 ppm, so for the sake of expense many organizations implement a single monitor to satisfy the regulation. As applications for ozone increase, however, the number of individuals that work in the vicinity of ozone systems will also increase. While the increasing number of individuals does not increase the likelihood of an ozone leak, it does increase the likelihood of exposure if a leak does occur. For that reason, the extent of ozone safety equipment and training at a facility should instead be based on the likelihood of exposure – not just OSHA regulations.
What does this mean, exactly? Take these examples:
At a small company where all employees are familiar with ozone and fully trained in the use of their ozone system, a single or small number of monitors may be sufficient for employee safety. (As always, this also depends on proper maintenance, adherence to proper procedures, etc.)
At a large company, there may only be a handful of employees that use an ozone system and are familiar with its use. These organizations should implement additional ozone monitors and safety signage in any area where “non-ozone” employees may be present. This helps ensure that all employees in all areas can remain safe and act appropriately in the event of an ozone leak.
Public facilities need to take their safety measures one step further. In a facility where the general public could be exposed to an ozone leak, all areas need to be monitored (with redundancy where possible), proper maintenance should be observed, ventilation should be present, ozone equipment rooms should have limited access and staff should be trained in how to handle an ozone leak.
Regardless of how careful a company is, ozone leaks are a reality. As users of ozone equipment, please keep this in mind as you plan your ozone systems and then communicate your safety requirements to us as we help with the design process. As a manufacturer, Ozone Solutions will continue asking questions to ensure that the equipment we sell is being sold with proper detection equipment installed. Together we can help the ozone industry continue its stellar record of safety for another 100 years.
Whether you are installing an ozone monitor for the first time or the 100th time, there is always one question that needs to be answered:
Where should I install my ozone sensor?
As you will see, the answer to this question depends on many variables – and is specific to your particular application. Nevertheless, we will tackle that topic here and give you enough information to install your ozone monitor confidently!
Unlike gas detection for some specific industries, OSHA does not specify the placement of ozone monitors or ozone sensors. Rather, OSHA specifies the PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit) for ozone at 0.1 ppm and leaves the rest up to you.
When deciding on ozone sensor placement, you should keep the following in mind:
Ozone is heavier than ambient air
Consider ventilation and airflow to determine where fugitive ozone may spread
Some monitors include remote sensors (wired)
Place ozone sensors near equipment / tubing where ozone leaks may occur
Place ozone sensors in areas that will be occupied by employees or visitors
Consider possible interferences in the area of the monitor
Each application is unique and will require its own consideration
Elaborating on this list:
1. Ozone is heavier than ambient air. This means that ozone will tend to pool first in low-lying areas such as crawl-spaces or along the floor. That said, most ozone monitors are placed at chest height. Placement at chest height means that the monitor is easily visible to most passers-by while monitoring the safety of air within our “breathing range”. If employees or contractors spend a lot of time under equipment or in crawlspaces, however, then alternative sensor placement needs to be considered.
2. Consider ventilation and airflow to determine where fugitive ozone may spread. If ozone is in use, or if your equipment is leaking ozone, that air will tend to drift with the airflow of your building. Consider fans, return-air vents, doors and windows to try and predict where air may flow. If you install an ozone sensor near your equipment but the airflow leads the opposite direction, then you will only detect ozone leaks late (if at all). Keep in mind that your airflow patterns may cause ozone to collect in “pockets” instead of dispersing and spreading. These stagnant areas should be kept in mind while formulating your ozone detection strategy as well.
3. Some monitors include remote sensors (wired). Some ozone monitors have their sensor positioned at the end of a cable, allowing you to mount the display in one location and the sensor in another. This allows you to mount the sensor in a machine room, for example, while have the monitor and alarm indicators outside. This capability is convenient for some, unnecessary for others – but it is a good point to keep in mind while choosing your equipment!
4. Place ozone sensors near equipment / tubing where ozone leaks may occur. This may seem obvious, but if your primary purpose is to detect ozone leaks then you will want to have the sensor located near the equipment and tubing in question. Your first line of defense to prevent high ozone levels in an office is to watch for ozone leaks in the adjoining machine room itself.
5. Place ozone sensors in areas that will be occupied by employees or visitors. This applies to all areas where ozone is in use, or where ozone may drift to (see point #2 above). Visitors or contractors may have little or no prior experience with ozone exposure safety, and even some of your everyday employees may be unable to detect ozone leaks by smell (a reminder that your sense of smell is never a reliable indicator of ozone concentration). Positions sensors and alarms to alert necessary persons of high ozone levels.
6. Consider possible interferences in the area of the monitor. For some ozone monitor technologies, placement of a sensor near chemical storage or areas of chemical use may result in interference with your ozone monitor. This effect is usually in the form of false positives, but certain chemicals can artificially depress the ozone readings detected by a sensor. If you are using an HMOS or GSS ozone monitor, for example, you should never install them in an area where they will be exposed to silicone fumes (the silicone will form a shell over the heated sensor junction, permanently preventing them from detecting ozone).
7. Each application is unique and will require its own consideration. Even if you have installed ozone monitors at multiple sites, each installation may have unique factors that affect sensor placement. Keep the above points in mind as you plan out your ozone monitoring strategies, browse our website for further details, and contact us with any remaining questions you have!
Ambient Ozone Monitors – The descriptions, images, videos and selections here will help inform you further regarding sensor placement.
In a cautionary tale to all companies that use ozone, a UK soft drink company (Cott Beverages from Leicestershire, UK) was recently fined for exposing an electrical contractor to unsafe ozone levels in July 2010.
The contractor in this case was performing work on unrelated equipment in a machine room that also housed ozone equipment. This ozone equipment had apparently developed a leak during March of 2010 and had not been adequately repaired, nor were proper steps taken to alert others to the danger.
The symptoms experienced by the contractor were consistent with those of an acute irritant asthma attack, said doctors involved with the situation.
Overall, the fine handed down by the Magistrate Court was equivalent to about $50,000 USD.
The moral of the story is that a lax attitude about ozone safety can result in harm, especially if somebody with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma or other respiratory disorders) is exposed to ozone. Sadly, this scenario is entirely preventable with proper ambient ozone safety monitoring, preventative maintenance and (generally inexpensive) repairs.
Refer to the following links for further information that can help your company avoid this same fate:
Here at Ozone Solutions, we commonly receive phone calls and emails asking about ozone safety. Perhaps the most common of these questions is “What are the OSHA ozone safety limits?”
The simple answer to this question is the following: 0.1 ppm ozone (on average) during any 8 hour time period.
The 0.1 ppm value is what OSHA defines as their PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit), and most ozone monitor manufacturers have standardized on this value as the default for alarm indicators. Ozone monitors and detectors will often have either an audible or visual alarm that goes off when the ozone level reaches 0.1 ppm.
What does this mean for you?
If you need an ambient ozone monitor to ensure employee safety, you should consider buying a monitor with alarms (audible, visual, or both) that indicate 0.1 ppm of ozone. This will ensure that any ozone leaks or excess ozone exposure will be noticed and remedied, and ensure your working environment remains within OSHA compliance.
For further information about ozone safety in the workplace, refer to the following links and watch our video below!
While providing ozone detection and monitoring solutions for our customers, we run into a wide variety of scenarios – every customer has slightly different needs and requirements. Despite this, there are also some situations that arise which have a common solution. One example is today’s question: ”How do I quickly deploy wide-scale, employee-level ozone monitoring?”
When you start up new ozone systems, are tracking down an elusive ozone leak, or are wanting to gain compliance prior to an audit – you may find yourself in need of quick method of monitoring ozone exposure for all your employees. Electronic ozone monitors are always a good option, monitoring or recording ozone levels for different areas of your facility. But if you are wanting to monitor ozone exposure for each employee, the cost of scale and the lead time to roll out a large number of monitors may require that you roll them out over time – failing the “quick” requirement.
One common solution is the B1-L Ozone Detection Badge. The B1-L is a single-use ozone badge intended for shift-length wear, giving you an indication of your (or your employee’s) average ozone exposure during that time. The low up-front cost (relative to electronic ozone monitors) and short lead time for quantity orders allow you to implement a wide-scale ozone monitoring program very quickly.
Some customers choose to continue use of the B1-L as their primary ozone monitoring system. However, considering long-term costs, most will use the insights gained from their B1-L deployment to install permanent ozone monitoring systems in their facility. The information gathered from the B1-L can include which areas are prone to ozone exposure problems and what those ozone levels are – both key factors in determining which ozone monitor system is best for you.
To calculate average ozone exposure with the B1-L, find the highest ozone range indicated by “white” dots (usually light blue) on the back of the badge (labeled with units of “ppm * hrs”). Divide that value by the number of hours that the card was used, and the resulting value will be your average ozone exposure during that time.
For example, if you turn the badge over and see that the value indicates a value of about 1.2 ppm*hr after an 8 hour shift, then your average ozone exposure during that shift was 0.15 ppm (1.2 / 8), a value higher than the OSHA 8-hour safety limit.
If, instead, the value indicated on the back of your badge is 0.5 ppm*hr after a 10 hour shift, then your average ozone exposure during that shift was 0.05 ppm (0.5 / 10), a value well within the OSHA safety limit.
In today’s post, Charlotte Kellogg explores the effects of land use and ozone on the global food crisis. As more public health programs focus on environmental and global health, it is becoming increasingly apparent how much of an effect the environment has on the health of peoples around the world. Here, Charlotte argues that there is a balance to be struck between maintaining traditional agricultural practices and incorporating innovations such as genetically modified food and, as Ozone Solutions has pointed out, the use of ozone in crop production, which can help reduce the likelihood of bacterial infection.
A Public Health Perspective on How Ozone Affects Global Food Insecurity
The populations of most countries have skyrocketed in recent years, putting a strain on many of the planet’s most precious resources. Land that was once used agriculturally is being developed into living spaces, shrinking available farmland and in many cases altering or eliminating natural waterways, making fresh water distribution ever more challenging. Increased use of cars and heavy machinery continues to damage the atmosphere, as well. Taken together, all of these factors point to food insecurity on a very large scale. Public health experts the world over are encouraging governments to redefine food crop management now before a true global crisis looms.
A big part of the problem, many argue, has to do with land use and crop management. Under ideal circumstances, farmers grow food crops over large swaths of land, rotating varieties every few years to promote soil diversity and keep a constant nutrient balance. Though once the norm, more farms than ever today are industrial, focusing more on maximum production than on overall quality of technique.
“Industrial farms disregard the need for balance,” Sustainable Table, an organic environmental organization, says on its site. “Land is used continuously and not given proper rest. Crops are not rotated in a way that replenishes the soil. Manure and chemical fertilizers are used to ‘feed’ the soil, but through over-application these additives become a problem,” the organization asserts.
Even when land is farmed correctly, it may not be being used in a way that supports global food initiatives. Recent U.S. mandates that ethanol be added to commercial gasoline to offset costs and reduce national reliance on fossil fuels, while perhaps well intentioned, impacts domestic corn growth tremendously. On average, a full 40% of all U.S. corn goes towards ethanol production, The New York Times reported in 2012. In a good growth year, that percentage is often manageable. When drought hits or crops otherwise fail, the repercussions can be devastating.
The drought currently parching most of the U.S. corn growing region provides an apt example of just how bad things can get. “The price of corn is a critical variable in the world food equation, and food markets are on edge because American corn supplies are plummeting,” the Times said. “The combination of the drought and American ethanol policy will lead in many parts of the world to widespread inflation, more hunger, less food security, slower economic growth and political instability, especially in poor countries.”
Global pollution, though not directly related to crop growth, may also be playing a role in worldwide food production. One of the results of global warming is a breakdown in atmospheric protections. The ozone layer, which shields the planet from harmful UV rays, is thinning in many places. At the same time, ozone is ever more prolific at ground level, where it is emitted by cars and machinery. Though not always immediately harmful to humans, this imbalance may be negatively affecting plant growth—and with it, the human ability to grow enough food.
“Its concentration here at ground level has been increasing since the middle of the last century, so that it is now present at levels high enough to injure plants,” Plant Science magazine said of ozone in late 2011. “It can stop them from fixing sunlight into energy via photosynthesis, can cause their leaves to die and fall off early, and can stunt their growth.” This typically means that plants have fewer resources to put toward fruit production. Foodstuffs are often smaller, if they are produced at all.
The best course of action is, in most cases, farming reforms and pollution control. These remedies are expensive, however, and would require extensive social and political change. Technology may offer a more viable short-term solution. Geneticists and scientific researchers have long been experimenting with genetically-modified food crops that could be optimized to grow in sub-par conditions, such as drought or poor soil. Other modifications would boost nutritive content, making easy-to-grow foods like rice and potatoes packed with protein and needed vitamins. Altered foods are somewhat controversial, but are, many argue, one of the most promising ways to establish more dependable global food security. There will be no easy answers to averting food crisis, but wide awareness of the situation is one of the best ways to begin strategizing a solution.
One of the key points that separates Ozone Solutions from other ozone providers is our ability to calibrate and service a wide variety of ozone monitoring equipment. This experience and expertise not only allows us to service the new ozone monitors that we sell, but it also gives us the ability to provide rental equipment and refurbished systems at reasonable rates. Read on for further details about how we can help you!
These services cover all monitors, including ambient monitors, UV ozone analyzers, and dissolved ozone monitors!
Ozone Monitor Calibration
Ozone Solutions has been providing NIST-traceable ozone calibration service to our customers for years. Our capabilities continue to expand, with additional staff and equipment dedicated to providing quality ozone calibrations with short turnaround times.
Ambient Ozone Safety Meters
HMOS (Heated Metal Oxide Semiconductor), GSS, and Electrochemical cell ozone monitors are most often used for ozone safety applications, so beyond having ozone response, it is critical that these components respond properly to ozone levels at the OSHA-specified limits. As such, we generally calibrate these sensors at 0.1 ppm of ozone (the OSHA 8-hour ozone safety limit) unless otherwise specified by you. Our standard calibration rate for ambient monitor calibration is very affordable at $125/each, with turnaround times averaging 2 weeks or less. Read our Ozone Monitor Calibration page for further details!
UV Ozone Analyzers
UV-based ozone analyzers (photometers) are high range, high accuracy devices that require more specialized equipment to calibrate accurately. Necessary equipment includes a stable ozone source (whether that is a UV-based ozone calibrator or a generator capable high %-by-weight levels), a NIST-traceable UV analyzer to use as a reference and ozone compatible accessories. We calibrate ozone analyzers from most major manufacturers, whether old or new – and with our $300 flat-rate calibration fee it is a very affordable option for most customers. Our standard service includes internal and external cleaning of the device, inspection, comparison with a NIST traceable reference, and a NIST traceable calibration certificate. Read our Ozone Analyzer Calibration page for further details! On-site service for analyzer calibration and repair is available as well!
General Calibration Info
If the calibration process reveals that repairs are necessary before calibration can be completed, the customer is notified for approval before any additional fees are accrued. For most calibrations, our 2-week turnaround time is sufficient to get monitors and analyzers calibrated and ready to ship back to customers. In cases where the customer requires a quicker turnaround time, we offer a Calibration Expedite fee for an additional $50 per device. Sometimes a customer will require custom calibration parameters – whether calibrating at specific ozone levels, using a specific process, or requiring specific additional details on their calibration certificate. Ozone Solutions does their best to accommodate these requests, so please contact us to discuss details!
Ozone Monitor Repair
Sometimes life happens and calibration alone is not capable of bringing an ozone monitor back into proper functionality. When this happens, our Ozone Monitor Department is again ready to help. Our electronics repair technicians have years of experience working on ozone monitoring equipment, from small handheld ozone monitors up to large UV ozone analyzers. Our years of experience in the industry have resulted in vendor relations that allow us to source parts quickly and effectively – resulting in faster turnaround times to get your systems back into compliance and back online.
Ambient Ozone Monitors
Ambient ozone monitors come in many shapes and sizes, with varied feature-sets and abilities. Device repairs can be as simple as buying a new field-replaceable battery, or as complicated as replacing components on a circuit board. Our repair process is
results in turnaround times of 2 weeks or less (typical)
keeps you updated on status
notifies you for approval before proceeding with any additional repair expenses
We service all makes of ambient monitors, whether HMOS, GSS, Electrochemical technology, from any manufacturer. To find out more, visit our Ozone Monitor Repair page and contact us to get the process started today!
UV Ozone Analyzers
With their higher ranges, higher accuracy and their UV-based ozone detection technology – UV ozone analyzers are the standard of reliability in the world of ozone measurement. Nevertheless, despite their reliability, ozone analyzers sometimes require maintenance and repair as well. The return-and-repair process remains quick and seamless, with many repairs finished during our standard 2-week repair window. Any delays due to parts availability, etc are communicated early on in the process to give you a proper estimate for return time. Most analyzer repairs are accompanied by NIST-traceable calibration to ensure that the new device is reading properly with the new component(s) installed. To find out more, visit our Ozone Analyzer Repair page and contact us to get the process started today!
In the event that you need an ozone monitor or ozone analyzer while yours is in for repair, we have plenty of ozone monitor rentals to keep you running in the meantime!
An ozone analyzer (left) showing low ozone response compared to an ozone reference standard (right) – calibration required!.
New Ozone Monitor Sales
Ozone Solutions knows that ozone measurement has many nuances, with considerations that are unique to each industry and application where ozone is used or encountered. For that reason, we have a dedicated Ozone Monitor Department to help ensure that you are equipped with the ozone detection equipment that best suits your needs. Whether ambient, UV, or dissolved ozone – we have the solutions you need from the most respected names in the industry. Our selection of new ozone monitors includes the following manufacturers:
As a further service to our customers, Ozone Solutions offers used and refurbished ozone detection equipment for sale in addition to our line of new products. For customers that require high range or high accuracy equipment but only have the budget for an ambient monitor, our selection of refurbished UV analyzers can bridge the price gap and get you the equipment you need at a discount price. As always, our refurbished ozone detection equipment comes with NIST-Traceable Calibration Certificates for your files.
This service extends even further with our program for trading in or selling your used UV ozone analyzer to Ozone Solutions. If your facility is phasing out old analyzers, selling old stock, or if you simply want to upgrade to a new unit – contact us to see what we can do for you!
In the meantime, check out our current inventory lists today!
Our inventory changes often, so check back in regularly for deals!
Ozone Monitor Rentals
If you are needing monitoring equipment for short-term use, or if you need to prevent downtime in the case of monitor failure, Ozone Solutions can cover those needs as well! Our ozone monitor rentals cover everything from basic portable ozone monitors up to industrial UV-based ozone controllers. Rental rates are reasonable, and most models are available to ship within 1-2 business days.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has released a draft of their new Integrated Science Assessment of Ozone. When finalized, this document will define the next generation of regulations regarding ozone safety. The document is essentially a conglomeration of all the most relevant scientific research on ozone safety. The document covers many different aspects of ozone safety and health effects: everything from effects on humans to effects on vegetation and ecosystems. You can find the original at the epa site here. However, if you would rather not dredge through 1262 pages of information (no kidding, it’s really that long), you can also check out our page on ozone safety.
Note: The EPA document is still only a draft. It may (and probably will) undergo changes before it is finalized.
Six Analog Devices employees were transported to area hospitals following a chemical exposure that was controlled quickly thanks to the company’s emergency management plan.
John Brown, Wilmington Fire Department Deputy Chief, said crews received a call after 10 p.m. on Wednesday for an ozone leak at a processor inside the building. By the time crews responded to the Woburn Street scene, the building was evacuated and all chemical readings were at zero.
The six employees who were in the area of the processor when the leak was reported were transported to the hospital, but it was strictly for precautionary reasons, Brown said.
This article is a great example of why ozone sensors in your facility are so important. No company needs this type of publicity. If you are unsure of the safety of your facility give us a call, we would be glad to discuss ozone detection options. Ozone Solutions offers ozone monitors from all brands and all types, we can help you select the right device for your application.