Also known as O3 and Activated Oxygen, this technology uses the exposure of the CPAP supplies and in one case the interior of the CPAP unit itself to the presence of the Ozone gas. Ozone has a corrosive effect on all organic material thereby breaking down the structural integrity at the cellular level of all microorganisms. This fact does provide some concern among healthcare providers of the safety risks of inhaling ozone gases into the lungs and airways and the possible damage that can occur of repeated exposure over time. Many patients who also have a co-diagnosis of COPD and Asthma report an increase of breathing difficulty shortly after beginning using the ozone sanitizers for their CPAPs. Many people complain about the ozone “chemical” smell as being disagreeable. However, this is the exception and not the rule. Most people report having no adverse side-effects or discomfort.
One of our patients recently asked us if the ozone level alert warnings they see reported on the local weather reports are the same as the ozone being produced in these sanitizers. It is. The difference is that outside, you are breathing in the ozone all the while you are outside at concentrations and levels that are potentially dangerous to your health. In the sanitizers, if you allow the ozone effects to flush out for a couple of hours every time the cleaning process is completed the presence of it is minimal and may not be harmful at all.
Next in the consideration of ozone sanitizing machines is that they only sanitize. They do not clean the nightly accumulation of bodily oils, sweat, personal care products and nasal/oral discharge. The ozone gas only sanitizes the clean surface of the CPAP supplies. It does not dissolve the by-products mentioned above which left untouched will create, in and of themselves, a health risk due to biological contamination which may lead to the breakdown of the functional integrity of the CPAP supplies themselves, sooner than later. And, speaking of product deterioration, both of the main providers of CPAP equipment (Respironics and Resmed) have observed an increase in product malfunction pertaining to the complaint of the CPAPs becoming louder during operation. They report observing a build up of a white powdery residue around the motors and seals of the units sanitized with ozone and have stated that the use of ozone sanitizers will void the manufacturer warranties. In truth, this condition is only being reported by those using the SoClean ozone sanitizers as their product is the only one that actually pushes ozone through the CPAP unit itself. All the other ozone sanitizer providers only provide a method of treating the CPAP supplies and not the CPAP units.
Another condition of the ozone devices is that they all require some form of connector (provided normally) that attaches their machine to your tubing and require some type of bag (provided normally) to place the CPAP supplies into during the sanitizing process. This is, in and of itself, no problem unless you lose them or they become defective, which then would be a big problem for you. There is one exception to this, also to do with the SoClean unit, the lid to the water chamber of the Resmed Airsense/Aircurve units must be modified to be able to be used. Also, speaking of devices, they all have some form of filter or valve that must be replaced on a regular recurring basis at an additional cost to you. These costs are typically minimal ranging from $50 to under $100 annually.
The sanitizing times for most ozone machines is typically 2 hours or more and every manufacturer recommends at least another 2 hours to allow the ozone gas to flush off the surface of the supplies before you put your CPAP on for the night. This is normally not a problem if you sanitize your supplies in the morning, for then you have all day for the process to be completed prior to going to bed. Also, while some of the ozone units are quiet, others are objectionably noisy to many of the users.
Lastly, most ozone products are fairly expensive for the average CPAP patient’s budget. They can range in cost from around $200 to $400 dollars for the initial purchase price in addition to the annual recurring costs of the filters, valves, connectors and bags.
The benefits of using ozone is that it is mostly hands free, attach everything and walk away. The disadvantages are that in addition to the potential health and medical risks for a certain number of the CPAP patient community, it does NOT clean the CPAP or the Supplies despite the claim. They are in fact only sanitizers and not cleaners. Also, they generally are limited to sanitizing only the CPAP products, they have one function and one function only.