Ozone (O3): Is it Good for Mold Remediation?

High ozone shock treatment has generated a lot of controversy in the fields of indoor air quality and mold remediation.  This treatment involves the generation of ozone in order to create extremely high levels of ozone in a space contaminated with strong odors and/or mold growth.  Although ‘ozone blasting’ is inexpensive when compared to more traditional mold clean up techniques, and can be carried out expeditiously, supporters of this cheap and quick alternative treatment should advocate cautiously.

While there are studies that do support the effective use of ozone as a supplementary mold remediation technique (i.e. when used effectively, ozone has been shown to kill mold when combined with other remediation practices), there are also studies that indicate quite the opposite.  It is also necessary to point out here that in order for ozone to have a significant impact on mold and other biological contaminants the organisms have to be exposed to ozone levels between five and ten times greater than public health standards permit.  Furthermore, a widely referenced 1997 study revealed that even high levels of ozone were not effectively influencing biological contaminants present in porous materials.

If you are still considering the use of ozone to eliminate microbial growth, proceed at your own risk.  Ozone is not the miracle cure that will one day render established mold removal practices and the scrutinizing work of mold remediation useless.  For more information on this topic check out the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html and read the article entitled: “Ozone Generators that are Sold as Air Cleaners: An Assessment of Effectiveness and Health Consequences”.

So what’s the bottom line?  Do your homework!  When considering new fads or alternative treatment methods always do research on their application while simultaneously considering the sources and biases of articles online (dig deeper than a Wikipedia article).  Traditional and industry standard mold remediation techniques are referred to as such for a reason, they work and have been proven over time to effectively remove moldy materials.

Further food for thought: Consider the motive behind any contractor’s treatment procedures.  When a company or contractor employs fast and inexpensive techniques for their clients, they are also saving themselves money.  In addition, while effective mold remediation removes microbial growth, any good mold remediation contractor will always be concerned with addressing the causation of the microbial growth.

Craig Camel

Advanced Mold Diagnostics