Ozone Pollution




What is Ozone?

Ozone is the primary cause of summer air pollution and is sometimes referred to as "smog". Ozone pollution or smog is formed when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) mix with sunlight and heat.  Ozone is mostly a summer time problem, when days are long and hot.  

Where does Ozone come from?

Ozone is a mix of chemicals th emitted mainly from vehicle tailpipes, diesel engines, and the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants.

What are the health effects of Ozone?


Numerous scientific studies have linked ground-level ozone exposure to a variety of problems, including: airway irritation, coughing, and pain when taking a deep breath; wheezing and breathing difficulties during exercise or outdoor activities; inflammation, which is much like a sunburn on the skin; 
aggravation of asthma and increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis; and, permanent lung damage with repeated exposures.  Those especially susceptible are people with lung disease, children, older adults, and people who are active during ozone pollution season.

How can I reduce my exposure to unhealthy smog?

Ozone pollution follows a daily cyclical pattern, largely related to commuter traffic.  To reduce exposure, people should reduce physical activity outside during the most polluted hours of the day (12:00 to 6:00 p.m.).  The best time for outdoor summer physical activity is before noon or after 6:00 pm. If you must exercise between noon and 6 p.m., reduce your activity level and consider exercising indoors.

What can I do to reduce my contribution to the smog problem?


In urban and suburban areas, the best choice you can make during the summer months is to leave your vehicle parked for the day and look for other ways to travel.


Learn more about ozone from the EPA.
 
 
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