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Ozone For Detergents

April 20, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 16

CONGRATULATIONS to Michael McCoy for his article "The Greening Game," which describes many details of recent developments in the effectiveness of cleaning products and detergents with emphasis on reducing their environmental impacts (C&EN, Jan. 26, page 13).

I have been working on an ozone-based "green" approach to this objective for more than a decade. The past five years have seen significant progress in defining the benefits of applying ozone to commercial laundering systems, including economic, microbiological, and environmental benefits. Briefly, ozone is an effective additive to laundering systems in ambient-temperature water. In addition to the energy saved by not heating water, less detergent and water are used.

Ozone not only destroys the "usual suspects" such as Escherichia coli and its henchmen, including viruses, but it also eradicates the two current superbugs—Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile—within three minutes. Environmentally, both the British Water Research Centre-National Sanitation Foundation (Wrc-NSF) and the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department have approved the discharge of ozone-treated commercial laundry wastewaters to the environment.

JLA, a British laundry firm, has installed U.S.-made ozonation equipment in more than 2,000 commercial laundry systems in the U.K. alone within the past five years. More information on this technology is available at JLA's website,

Rip G. Rice
Sandy Spring, Md.


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