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printech, November, 2001
Re: Ozone Generated from UV Lamps

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From: Richard Illig(rillig@state.pa.us)
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2001 09:30:37

I don't have the answers to many of the questions you asked but I may have a couple thoughts for you. First let me say, I've never heard of ozone concerns from UV lights so I don't know anything about that issue or even if it's a real concern. My comments below are simply speculation...

 * UV light is a high-energy source (violet end of the spectrum compared to visible light, infrared light, radio waves...basically, the red end of the light spectrum. Higher energy light sources include gamma rays, x-rays, etc.). High energy sources are capable of causing ionizing reactions with atmospheric oxygen(O2) or other gases...hence, O2 could become ozone(O3). A similar effect occurs when lightning (a high energy source) moves through air during a storm. The fresh smell following a thunderstorm is attributed to lightning creating ozone.

 * Although leaving lights "on" 24-7 may eliminate the ozone created when first turning the lights "on", your electric bill (and maintenance costs for replacing lamps) will probably kill you (figuratively speaking) before the ozone. NOTE: I'm not saying turning   UV lights on creates large amounts of ozone ...I have never heard this. Ask a lighting professional that question.

 * Ozone exposure supposedly is not good for people, or rubber. IF appreciable levels of ozone come from UV lamps, then it would not be good if ventilation in the area was poor (such that the worker has to breath the ozone). I am unable to tell you any effects from prolonged ozone exposure. Rubber undergoes a process called ozonalisis (it may be spelled wrong) and will dry-out and crack.

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