The different phases of the de-escalation already means for many people the return to their daily activity, with numerous particularities and safety and hygiene measures. This also means reusing the car. To avoid the vehicle becoming a source of contagion, it is important to take into account some important measures to disinfect it. These include ozone disinfection, which has become popular as one of the most effective chemical elements against coronavirus.
There are already many companies that offer O3 disinfection services. An element that, if not used with caution and following all the necessary safety measures, can pose some dangers.
One of the characteristics of ozone (O3) is its great effectiveness as a biocide, due to its oxidizing power, which allows it to be used as a deodorant to eliminate chemical contamination, both in water and in air. It is also a disinfectant that leaves no residue, since O3 in distilled water decomposes quickly generating -OH radicals, without leaving toxic by-products. Those hydroxyl groups (-OH or alcohol) are the ones that kill viruses and bacteria.
Its disinfecting power and its effectiveness against the coronavirus is due to its own chemical structure. By sharing electrons between three atoms instead of two, the resulting molecule is very unstable, and tends to capture electrons from any nearby compound to regain its stability; that is, it is a very strong oxidant. By capturing electrons from other molecules, oxidizing them, destabilizes them to the point of destroying them.
The recommended ozone exposure limit is 0.1 parts per million (ppm), or 0.2 milligrams per cubic meter, calculated as a weighted eight-hour concentration, and short-term 0.3 ppm (0.6 mg . per cubic meter), as a weighted concentration of fifteen minutes.
According to Infotaller, there is currently no viricidal product that is authorized for use by spraying on people. Therefore, this application technique that is advertised in the so-called disinfecting tunnels can in no way be used on people. An improper use of biocides introduces a double risk, as recalled by the Association of Workshops of Pontevedra, ATRA, with possible damage to human health and giving a false sense of security.
Therefore, and in view of the proliferation of ozone-producing devices in the market, this Ministry warns that ozone, like other biocides, cannot be applied in the presence of people. The employees in charge of this application must have the appropriate protective equipment. And in addition to being a dangerous chemical substance, it can produce adverse effects. The classification of this substance as hazardous by respiratory route, skin irritation and eye damage is reported in the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) classification inventory. Therefore the disinfected area should be adequately ventilated before use.
How is disinfected with ozone
Ozone disinfects in the same way as chlorine, it binds to bacteria and oxidizes them from the cell wall to the nucleus, destroying them completely, only it does not leave toxic residues and is 3,000 times more efficient.
When using an O3 generator to disinfect a car, a compressor takes oxygen from the environment and injects it into the ozone-generating lamp. By means of an electric discharge the bonds of the molecule are broken to leave two free oxygen atoms that seek to associate. Next, it binds to an oxygen molecule that has not been divided into ozone. This exits through the hose and travels to the diffuser stone that will diffuse it into the jug with water by means of bubbling.
From the Confortauto workshop network, its Network Development Manager, Enrique Sansano, explains to ABC that the ozone generator sucks air and transforms it into ozone through a chemical effect called the “corona effect”. This system allows to disinfect and sterilize all types of vehicles, “eliminating viruses and bacteria, parasites, fungi and odors, among others”.
As explained to ABC by Hernán Martínez Querol, CEO of Alvato Spain, the most demanded services at present are interior cleaning with disinfection through ozone generation, and interior cleaning with disinfection through «nanotechnology», a system that with a single application (6 hours of work) maintains the bactericidal and viricidal effect for up to 3 years.
According to José María Nieto, Head of Easy Battery service at Norauto, “the main questions that arise are about whether it will be toxic once we deliver the car again, so we must explain that before returning the vehicle keys and After applying the ozone, we allow time for it to aerate so that it does not pose any risk to your health. ” .