Ozone or Hydroxyl?

Susan Duffy, President of Queenaire Technologies, briefly discusses the differences between Ozone and Hydroxyl Technology.  Hydroxyl Generators are safe to use in occupied spaces whereas Ozone Generators are safe to operate in unoccupied spaces.

What Is A Hydroxyl Radical? The hydroxyl radical, •OH, is the neutral form of the hydroxide ion (OH–). Hydroxyl radicals are diatomic molecules that are highly reactive and very short-lived with an average half-life of less than two seconds. The hydroxyl radical which was first discovered by scientists in 1963 is often referred to as the “detergent” of the troposphere, or the lowest part of the atmosphere, because it reacts with many pollutants and helps destroy them. It also has an important role in eliminating some greenhouse gases like methane and ozone.

Technology Behind Radicals. All hydroxyl generators currently used in the restoration industry incorporate some form of UV light in their process. UV light has three major spectrums: A, B and C. UVA is in the 315nm to 400nm wavelength and is what is commonly referred to as a “black light,” which makes white things glow and is considered safe for vision and skin contact. UVA lamps do not produce ozone. UVB is in the 280nm to 315nm wavelength. These are the lights in tanning salons. UVC is the 100nm to 280nm wavelength. These lamps are “germicidal” and can damage your eyes and skin. UVC lamps in the 185nm spectrum produce large amounts of ozone.

Some manufacturers use UVC lamps in the 185nm to 254nm wavelength with no catalyst whatsoever and claim to make hydroxyls. These units are nothing more that ultraviolet ozone generators and should be avoided. Other manufacturers use the same UVC 185nm to 254nm wavelength UV lamps but also incorporate reactive metals like titanium as a catalyst to create hydroxyls. These machines would probably make more hydroxyls then the first process described above but they also produce ozone and should be considered for use in unoccupied areas only. The third technology which was developed with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) utilizes UVC light in the 254nm wavelength to excite nano-sized particles of Titanium Dioxide to generate hydroxyl radicals.

This process has been deemed safe by NASA (it has been used in the space station) and also certified by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) as a Type 2 Medical Device that is approved for use in hospitals, including neonatal and baby wards.