In Part One of a two-part project, Wonder Makers Environmental, Inc. conducted an extensive review of existing literature regarding the air quality of post-fire environments and the potential risk to restoration contractors when working in such situations. This research paper answers important questions about the types and quantities of residual contaminants that may be present in structures at the time that restoration work is undertaken. Areas of review include evaluating the general safety of a fire-damaged structure during the various stages of restoration work, and determining if there is any consensus in the current body of knowledge regarding the recommended use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the restoration and cleanup process.
Michael Pinto with Wonder Makers Environmental, Inc. has completed Part Two of the study regarding the safety of post-fire conditions for contractors, including the effect of the Odorox® technology in these environments. A real-world fire was simulated in a test chamber and air samples were taken regularly for five days after the fire was extinguished. The samples were measured by a highly reputable third party lab to detect the type and quantity of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present. In the study, worst case conditions were created with the actual source materials left in the sealed room while the Odorox® machine was running.
“This series of lab studies demonstrates our ongoing commitment to important third party scientific studies to further prove the efficacy of the Odorox® technology. These studies include a broad spectrum of biologicals, and are really impressive. The technology does far more than odor elimination and the possibilities for applications in many different markets are astounding. We will also continue to seek the input of experts in the Disaster Cleanup industry to find ways our technology should be further included in other cleaning protocols.”
As scientists look into the mechanisms through which our earth cleanses itself of environmental pollutants, they continue to learn fascinating things. Much of what they discover about the natural processes occurring on a global scale can also be beneficially applied to our personal environment our homes. In this newsletter, we will take a closer look at one current field of research, the crucial role that hydroxyl molecules play in the purification of the air in earth's atmosphere. We will also see how the practical application of this research can improve the quality of the air we breathe right now inside our own homes.
Although it may be difficult to visualize how hydroxyl radicals can totally decompose volatile organic compounds (VOCs), both within the irradiation chamber of the Odorox® machine and throughout the treatment space, it is a process that is very well understood and documented in over 25 years of chemical literature. The decomposition of volatile organic and inorganic compounds by hydroxyl radicals involves a complex series of free radical oxidation steps that gradually result in the loss of individual carbon atoms to eventually form carbon dioxide (CO2). HGI, the manufacturer of the Odorox® technology, describes this process for simplicity as the “cascade” effect.
Odorox® hydroxyl generators use multiple wavelength ultraviolet irradiation to generate hydroxyl radicals from water vapor in ambient air. The Odorox® system is designed to produce a concentration of hydroxyls comparable to that found in nature to destroy malodors, microorganisms, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, on surfaces, and within porous materials like fabric, paper, etc. HGI Industries, the manufacturer of Odorox® products, recently completed a series of toxicology and physical chemistry tests on its Odorox® Boss™ hydroxyl generator. The tests were commissioned by HGI using industry leading third party laboratories and experts, and are by far the most comprehensive on record with respect to this new technology. The results of these tests further confirm the overall safety and effectiveness of the Odorox® technology.
Hydroxyl generating air cleaners use multiple UV wavelength ranges that, when combined with water vapor in the air, create hydroxyls which help to eliminate bacteria, mold, mildew and odors in the indoor and outdoor air. During the air cleaning process, it is thought that certain oxidants such as ozone and hydrogen peroxide may be produced at concentrations that may need to be quantified. This is due to the health and safety issues associated with breathing such airborne contaminants in potentially significant concentrations.
The Odorox® hydroxyl generators produce a concentration of hydroxyls of approximately 2,000,000 per cubic centimeter, as measured by the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI). The Odorox® machines also produce ozone and other oxidants as byproducts due to the chemical reactions that are necessary to produce hydroxyls. The machines are designed in a way that only a minimal amount of ozone can exit the chambers of the machines. The Odorox® machine labels, operating instructions, coverage tables, and training programs provide that the XL3 and Boss machines should not be used in small occupied areas without proper ventilation, air exchange, and monitoring - See Coverage Tables and Operating Instructions.
Under highly controlled conditions, the Boss™ system generated hydroxyl radicals which rapidly reacted with n-heptane producing a measurable reduction in the n-heptane concentration consistent with a hydroxyl formation rate in the hundreds of ppb. To provide a perspective on these results, typical concentrations of volatile organics found indoors range from 100 – 750 ppb, with levels commonly reaching 1000 to 4000 ppb.