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Hello forum mates,

I need your help on a technical question.

The safety manager of our local water treatment company has problems with the higher management: they want to skip the companies emergency SCBA-team and let them use cartridges instead. He asked me for a motivation to keep his team intact.

The Canadian WorkSafe-publication "Ozone safe work practices" ( ) is clear in its advice on which PPE to use in which ozone concentration (page 18 - 19, respiratory protection). In case of a high or unknown ozone concentration (which in case of the water treatment plant may be very high), only SCBA's should be used. I think I can make the safety manager happy with this publication.

However, out of personal interest, I still have a remaining question:
what happens with an activated carbon filter (from a respirator with cartridge) in a high ozone concentration?

As ozone is a very strong oxidator and can react fiercely with flammable material, I suppose that the carbon would first only turn into CO2 and some CO. But as the temperature as a result of the rapid reaction would increase, I suppose the cartridge would start to burn? Anyone knows of tests on this? warns of an explosion, as it mentions: "Activated carbon filters must under no circumstances be exposed to ozone concentrations higher than 20g/m³ since the reaction may become auto-accelerated and lead to an explosion."

I hope some of you can teach us more on this intrigueing subject.

In the mean time I will start designing a combined rescue training for the company ff's and 2 of our stations. I would like to inform all participants on this afterwards during the feedback session.

Wish you a blessed weekend,

Jetty Middelkoop
Hazmat officer
FD Amsterdam Amstelland
The Netherlands

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