What is ozone?
Ozone is three atoms of oxygen
Ozone is not smog
Smog is mostly man-made
Ozone is made by the sun and oxygen
Ozone is nature’s way of cleaning the environment
Ozone is not smog. Listen to the news and you’ll think ozone is air pollution or smog. It is not either one. The name “ozone” is derived from the Greek word “ozein” which means “to smell”. Ozone is a bluish, water-soluble gas with a distinctive smell. It made of three atoms of oxygen and occurs naturally in nature. It is formed when oxygen and ultraviolet light interact high in the stratosphere.
Oxygen, released from plants and sea plankton during photosynthesis, continually rises to the upper atmosphere to where the ozone layer is. There the sun changes O2 to O3 or ozone. The using up of the UV rays to create ozone is how the ozone layer shields us from the rays’ harmful effects.
Being heavier than oxygen, this newly created ozone falls back to earth. Because it is very unstable, O3 will quickly give up one atom of oxygen, which attaches itself to pollutants or contaminants and oxidizes them. After oxidizing substances, it simply reverts to O2 or oxygen, the most important element on earth. Ozone’s job is to purify our air and water. Ozone is one of the most powerful destroyers of viruses and bacteria found in nature. It also destroys molds, yeasts, and most odors. In nature ozone is created by waterfalls, the ocean’s surf, and during thunder and lightning storms. It is the fresh smell of laundry dried outside, the fresh air at the seashore, or the sweet smell after an electrical storm.
The fact that ozone readily gives off a single oxygen atom is a significant factor in life, in medical therapies, and in toxic waste technology. Ozone combines with the lower atmosphere’s toxic chemicals given off by automobiles, trucks, buses, utility industries, and other noxious gases to neutralize them. But when ozone is overpowered by these chemicals, it becomes a tiny part of the hazy brown smog of toxic gases you can see.
It is inaccurate to blame our environmental problems on ozone. Ozone is simply pure activated oxygen and is nature’s way of cleaning our environment, while smog and air pollution are man-made and are extremely toxic to the human body.