Chlorine has historically been the sanitizer of choice in the food processing industry. But experts share a growing concern about dangerous by-products (such as trihalomethanes or dioxins) that are produced when chlorine reacts with the organic matter found in water. These by-products are known carcinogens and when found in drinking water, their levels are strictly regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The opposite is true of ozone. When ozone reacts with organic matter, it does NOT form any toxic by-products. In fact, the water in which ozone is delivered can be filtered and even reused — good news for reducing the amount of water a plant uses.

And because ozone is so highly reactive, it is effective in controlling and removing biofilms that form on food processing equipment. Ozone is an effective way of reducing biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and turbidity or other residues left in water.

Chlorinated wash systems require transport and storage of potentially hazardous, toxic chemicals. Ozone, on the other hand, is generated on site using only air and a small amount of electricity. And, ozone can be produced on demand with no storage requirements whatsoever. When an ozone generator is turned off, there are no dangerous substances left on the premises.

Employee working conditions are a major concern for environmental agencies and worker safety organizations. Using ozone eliminates the need to handle, mix and dispose of harsh chemicals. Overexposure to chemicals has been linked to various diseases and conditions, especially in association with the lungs and throat. In 70 years of use, no one has ever died as a result of exposure to ozone. OSHA has a maximum acceptable concentration limit for ozone, but the risks of over-exposure to ozone are limited to irritated skin and membranes. As a result, companies are able to lower their operating costs with regards to medical and liability insurance.