In the ozone
18 August 2015
Martin Booth, managing director at Green World Innovations, argues that aqueous ozone is the future of chemical-free cleaning
Stimulated by increasing efforts to stop the spread of allergens and germs in healthcare, food and beverage manufacturing, the global demand for cleaning chemicals is forecast to increase to £30.5 billion in 2018, at a rate of 4.3% annually according to a study by Freedonia Group’s new report. Yet, in the face of an expanding market, businesses need to take into account a multitude of factors that could impact negatively as a result of using cleaning chemicals, such as human and environmental costs and EU regulations, and should look towards alternative chemical free solutions.
Described as nature’s chemical free cleaner, aqueous ozone is created from ordinary tap water by introducing an extra oxygen atom to an oxygen molecule (02). The instability of the third oxygen atom in aqueous ozone creates the high-quality cleaning agent, in which oxygen atoms search for something with which to bond, breaking down dirt, harmful allergens and contagious pathogens in the process.
Cleaning with aqueous ozone can achieve the same results as many chemical cleaning products. However, across the cleaning industry there is a widely held belief that chemical based cleaning products are necessary to reach the required standards of attractive, sanitised and healthy conditions. There needs to be a conscious and concerted effort by key influencers within the cleaning industry to educate industry wide, notably those purchasing and using the products.
Sustainability & safety
Aqueous ozone is more sustainable than chemical cleaning agents and as a cleaning solution is environmentally risk free when being disposed of, as once used it safely reverts back into ordinary water and oxygen.
Being totally chemically free, aqueous ozone is also extremely safe to use. This allows for cleaning professionals to maintain standards whilst remaining protected from the often uncertain and occasionally unknown long-term risks of chemical cleaning products at typical exposure levels.
A study conducted by Imperial College London tracked the occurrence of asthma in a group of 9,488 people born in Britain in 1958. Excluding those who had asthma as children, 9% developed asthma by age 42. Risks in the workplace were responsible for one in six cases of adult onset asthma – even more than the one-in-nine cases attributed to smoking, according to the analysis. Researchers identified 18 occupations with clear links to adult onset asthma, four of which were cleaning jobs with a further three likely to involve exposure to cleaning products.
If businesses were to switch to a chemical free cleaning solution such as aqueous ozone it would eliminate the need to adhere to the EU’s REACH regulations. The regulations, set for 1st July 2015, compel businesses to identify and manage the risks linked to the chemical substances they manufacture and market in the EU and has established measures for gathering and analysing data on the properties and hazards of chemicals. This would not only eradicate the ordinary costs of safely disposing of cleaning chemicals but also the hidden costs that are certain to appear with the implementation of the regulations.
Sustainability is now top of many business agendas and chemical free cleaning products offer a viable solution to achieve this business goal. Chemical free cleaning solutions provide alternative routes for businesses wanting to eliminate the health, environmental and monetary costs of cleaning with chemicals. Aqueous ozone offers environmental and economic sustainability whilst increasing a business' operational efficiency – something no business can afford to ignore.