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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/480

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the infinite play of the terrestrial powers: in the falling away of the rocks, and the springing forth of plants; in the oxidation of metals, and the emission of the perfume of flowers; in the deposition of dew, in the falling rain, the rattling hail, and the drifting snow; in the rushing of the wind, and the conflict of the storm; in the friction of the clouds as they pass in the sky, or rest on the summits of the mountains; in the ceaseless evaporation on sea and on land; in the rushing torrents of the hills and the dashing breakers on the shore.[1]

Ozone a Disinfectant.—The disinfecting powers of ozone have long been noted. It is one of Nature's great purifiers. It is sometimes generated artificially in hospitals and public buildings. It acts both on animal and vegetable matter. According to Schönbein, air containing but 13240000 of ozone is capable of disinfecting its own volume of air filled with the effluvia, evolved in one minute, from four ounces of highly-putrid flesh.

Ozone, in disinfecting and purifying decaying and putrid matter, is itself destroyed. It dies, that others may live. Hence it is that there is so little of ozone in the air of towns and cities and villages, and in hospitals. The ozone is consumed in the process of oxidizing the products of combustion and decay.

Dr. Richardson has noticed that oxygen, that has been repeatedly passed over decomposing animal matter, loses its power of oxidation.

Physiological Effects of Ozone.—The physiological effects of ozone have been studied both on man and on animals. It is believed that the bracing and inspiring effect of a clear, crisp, and sparkling morning, is due in part to the great amount of ozone in the atmosphere. When it is held in combination with oxygen or common air, it acts much like oxygen, but more powerfully. It affects the pulse, the respiration, and the circulation, in various ways, according to the quantity taken, and the temperament of the individual. In this respect, it behaves like electricity. It has been thought that ozone is formed in the body from the contact of oxygen gas with the blood, and there are those who believe that it is absorbed with the ozone in the air, and is carried into the blood, where it takes part in the process of oxidation.

There is a possibility, if not indeed a probability, that electricity, in its passage through the body, generates ozone in very minute quantities, through the electrolytic and other changes that it produces, and the theory, that the beneficial effects of electrization are in part due to the ozone thus generated, has some plausibility. But on all these subjects very little is known. Experiments made in the laboratory with ozone, artificially prepared, are highly suggestive. Catarrhal symptoms and attacks, much resembling epidemic influenza, are produced by long breathing air laden with ozone. It is stated that it would be difficult to distinguish between the symp-

  1. Vide Fox, above quoted.