What is Ozone?

And why is it a problem?


Ozone is a colorless gas that can be good or bad depending on where you encounter it.
Ozone in the stratosphere is good because it shields us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Ozone on the ground level however is bad and harmful to human health.

Ozone forms when two types of pollutants react in sunlight. These pollutants come from sources such as cars, industries, power plants and products such as paints and industrial solvents.

Why is ozone a problem?

Ozone can cause a range of health problems, including coughing, breathing issues and lung damage. Exposure to ozone can make the lungs more susceptible to infection, aggravate lung diseases, increase asthma attacks and more.

Do I need to be concerned?

Even healthy adults can experience the ozone’s harmful effects, but some people are more susceptible and at greater risk than others.

  • People with lung disease such as asthma.
  • Children, including teenagers. While lungs are still developing they breathe in more air per pound of body weight than adults.
  • Older adults.
  • If you are active outdoors, including outdoor workers.

How can you protect yourself?

Use Air Quality Index services to plan your outdoor activities.

Stay healthy with exercise, good balanced nutrition and keep asthma under control with your doctors asthma action plan.

When you see the the Air Quality index is unhealthy, take simple steps to reduce your exposure.

  • Postpone strenuous activity.
  • Take lots of breaks during your outdoor activity.
  • Schedule activities to the morning time or other days.
  • Move your activity inside where ozone levels are usually lower.

What can I do to help reduce ozone?

Yes, here are a few tips.

  • Turn of lights when you are not using it.
  • Carpool or take public transportation.
  • If feasible choose your bike over your car.
  • Keep your car well maintained especially tire pressure and filters.
  • Painting a room? House? Use low-VOC paint and cleaning products.
  • Always seal paint and cleaning products so it won’t evaporate.
  • Watch for Air Quality Action Days in your area.

As always find loads of more detailed information on the official EPA https://epa.gov website.