Allan Krosner: Ozone a natural phenomenon, not caused by man | TheUnion.com
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Allan Krosner: Ozone a natural phenomenon, not caused by man

Alan Stahler wrote a column, July 13, about oxygen and ozone. As he mentioned, oxygen gas symbol is O2 which is two oxygen atoms. Ozone gas symbol is O3 which is three oxygen atoms.

I want to debunk a myth. Ozone is not unhealthful in low dosage. In fact, ozone is a disinfectant.

I understand that ozone is not unhealthful until it reaches level of about 1 percent. The fresh air you smell after a lightning storm is the ozone. When you dry your clothes outdoors, the freshness you smell on the clothes is the ozone. It is the main reason that indoor air is not as healthy as outdoor air. There is no justification for “zero tolerance” of ozone.



The formation of ozone is a very simple process. Ultraviolet rays (UV) strike an oxygen (O2) molecule and split it into two oxygen atoms (O). These two oxygen atoms combine with a neighboring oxygen (O2) molecule to form the ozone (O3) molecule. Formula: O2 + UV = 2 O, 2 ( O + O2 = O3 ).

Ozone is not unhealthful in low dosage. In fact, ozone is a disinfectant.

Alan Stahler said when you mix Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and oxides of Nitrogen (NOX) and zap with UV you get several recipes for ozone.” You will find no legitimate chemical formula that describes the NOX + VOC + UV = O3 reaction. I have seen some very bogus formulas trying to describe this reaction. The bottom line is that ozone is a natural-occurring phenomenon, not caused by man.




Nitric oxide (NO) is produced in an internal combustion engine. The nitric oxide will combine with the single oxygen atom from the (O2 + UV = 2 O) reaction to produce nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Formula: NO + O = NO2.

This process will delay the production of ozone by superseding the O + O2 = O3 reaction. If there is enough nitric oxide to keep ozone from being produced until very late afternoon when there is very little UVs, very little ozone will be produced. This is why the areas with lots of automobiles, like Sacramento, will have less ozone than the rural areas like Grass Valley.

Allan Krosner lives in Nevada City.


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