Ozone is an air pollutant formed by chemical reactions involving nitrogen oxides, reactive hydrocarbons, and sunlight. Commonly referred to as “smog”, ozone is a powerful respiratory irritant that can cause:
- Lung damage
- Shortness of breath
Children, the elderly, those with respiratory ailments, and people who exercise outdoors are especially susceptible to its effects. Ozone can also reduce crop yields and cause damage to rubber, plastics, and many common building materials.
Ozone Types in Our Atmosphere
How to Help
- “Good ozone” is found in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) and helps protect us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- “Bad ozone,” or ground-level ozone, is listed by the EPA as a Criteria Pollutant and can cause adverse health effects.
The Ozarks Clean Air Alliance (OCAA)
has developed a Clean Air Action Plan
(PDF) that encourages businesses to reduce emissions and encourages the public to take small steps that will make a big difference in air quality.
Find out more about things you can do to reduce ozone at your business
Ozone Action Day
Ozone Action Days are announced when the AQI is forecast to be "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups," or Code Orange. In this case, the groups that are sensitive to the pollutant should reduce exposure by reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. This would include:
- Children and adults who are active outdoors
- People with lung disease, such as asthma
The Ozone Action Day will not only include health advisory information, but will also include information encouraging the public to take measures to reduce ozone on that day such as:
- Riding the bus
- Waiting until after 6 p.m. to fill up with gas or mow your lawn
These actions can help reduce pollutants that are responsible for generating ozone.