While Sanitization, Disinfection and Sterilization are commonly used terms, it's important to start with an understanding of what each terms means in terms of killing pathogens:
Sanitizing is the act of inactivating or destroying up to 99.9% of the microorganisms that are present in an environment.
Disinfecting is the act of inactivating or destroying between 99.9+% and 99.999+% of the microorganisms present in an environment including microorganisms identified as hard to kill. Disinfecting is generally broken down into 3 sub-categories based on the percentage and type of microorganism killed, these levels are: low, intermediate and high.
Sterilizing is the act of inactivating or destroying 99.9999+% microorganisms including spores, which are considered the most difficult microorganisms to kill.
Ozone is widely used in water treatment to kill pathogens and as such it has been well studied on a variety of pathogens. The kill rates of ozone on pathogens is influenced by ph, temperature and the presence of ambient organic compounds. Most pathogens are inactivated by 1 ppm of ozone or less applied for 1 to 5 minutes. BluOx ozone levels are significantly higher. Click here to see a list of pathogens known to be inactivated by ozone, Pathogens inactivated by ozone.
A number of tests have been done over the years to evaluate ozone's effectiveness at killing pathogens in laundry. These tests include nursing home applications, hospital linen and even dairy operations (where ozone was used to launder the towels used to wipe down cow udders). These tests have consistently confirmed ozone's effectiveness. Click here to see results of a test done by IndustrOzone in July of 2000 washing heavily soiled diaper pads in cold water at 0.93 ppm of ozone. This test cleared the way for a special exemption authorizing the use of ozone in a nursing home in California. California ozone laundry test.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria of growing concern, especially in prisons and athletic facilities. Ozone's effectiveness on inactivation of MRSA was established in a test done in the U.K. in 2006. The tests showed kill rates of pathogens including MRSA up to 8 logs (99.999999%). While the test didn't document the ppm of ozone used, the ozone source was a 4 gram ozone generator. BluOx uses ozone generators for a similar size application in the 20 gram and higher range. Click here for excerpts from Ozone in the Laundry Industry -- Practical Experiences in the United Kingdom.
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