So what has ozone ever done for us?

June 26th, 2003 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, celebs, oxygen, scare stories | 3 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Thursday June 26, 2003
The Guardian

· What is it with alternative therapists and oxygen? Last week’s Time Out offered a glowing report on ozone therapy, and the fact that they called it O3 (with a superscript) should be enough to tell you that whoever wrote it wasn’t necessarily paying attention during basic chemistry. God only knows what its sub-editors think they’re playing at. They go on to tell us that “O3 is a clear blue gas (hence the colour of the sky)”. I hate to use the same gag twice in a month, but if you really want to know why the sky is blue, and I know this is getting boring now, you only have to type “why is the sky blue?” into any search engine on the internet, and you will be instantly directed to, where your question will be answered. And it has nothing to do with ozone.

· Now it occurs to me that since the World Health Organisation is worried about monitoring levels of ozone that exceed guidelines by a few micrograms per cubic metre – since it has been implicated in all kinds of conditions, including exacerbation of asthma and bronchitis, headaches, fatigue, nausea and respiratory problems – we might all be a little concerned about Enrida Kelly, a “naturopath” in west London, flogging ozone therapy “mixed in a ratio of 99 parts oxygen to one part ozone”. But not our experts at Time Out. In fact, they reserved special praise for its deployment in colonic irrigation, “bringing the benefits of oxygenation, and cleaning the parts of the body that can benefit most”. Check out Kelly’s website at Lots of wonderful promises: “Many people have had their limbs saved by such therapy.” And a lovely disclaimer: “Though we will be glad to assess and supervise sessions aimed at improving your well being, we do not ‘treat’ or aim to ‘cure’ disease.” But not a randomised control trial in sight.

· Speaking of experts, WebFusion was lucky enough to get Philippa Forrester, “Tomorrow’s World presenter and technology expert”, to endorse its products in its latest round of advertising. “WebFusion has always represented innovative thinking, the best technology, and great value,” she says. Forrester, you may remember, is so technically adept that she was last seen in the paedophilia edition of Brass Eye, holding her (big) head behind a T-shirt printed with a tiny body, saying: “Wearing a T-shirt like this, the paedophile can disguise himself as a child.”

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