What is ozone, and what, if any, are its benefits?
To put it simply, ozone (O3) is a highly reactive gas composed of three oxygen atoms. It’s both a natural and man-made product that occurs in the Earth’s upper and lower atmosphere. It absorbs UV light, reducing human exposure to harmful UV radiation that causes skin cancer and cataracts, damages crops and destroys certain types of marine life.
Because it’s a cleaning and sanitizing agent, ozone systems now operate in many food industries, including poultry, seafood, produce and water bottling.
In fact, in 2000, the Electric Power Research Institute published “Food Industry 2000: Food Processing Opportunities, Challenges, New Technology Applications.” The report contains the following statement: “Ozone destroys bacteria, mold, mildew, spores, yeast and fungus. It inactivates viruses and cysts. Chlorine is not very effective against viruses and has limited effect on some types of bacteria … ozone reacts much faster than chlorine.”
Dr. Andrew Weil is the Harvard-educated Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Rheumatology and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health. On his eponymous website, DrWeil.com, Dr. Weil noted that in 2001, the FDA approved the use of “ozone as an additive to kill food-borne pathogens, a decision that enabled food processors to use ozone in their plants. Since then, the Lotus Sanitizing System designed for home use was introduced and named one of the ‘Best Inventions of 2006’ by TIME Magazine,” noting it “has gotten a lot of enthusiastic press elsewhere.”