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Ozone: What Is It and What You Can Do To Prevent It

KEYE-TV - keyetv.com :: Weather - Weather Guides - Ozone: What Is It and What You Can Do To Prevent It

Ozone: What Is It and What You Can Do To Prevent It

Ozone is a colorless and odorless gas which is found both in the Earth's atmosphere and close to the ground. When at altitude, ozone is beneficial by protecting the planet from the effects of the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

However, when at ground level, ozone is an air pollutant that is harmful to breathe and it damages crops, trees, and other vegetation.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, ground-level or "bad" ozone is not sent directly into the air, but is caused by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight.

Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC.

The CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas calls Ozone Watches a day in advance, generally by 2 p.m., when there is an Ozone Watch, which occurs when conditions are forecast to be favorable for high ozone levels the following day in Central Texas.

The Ozone Watch is valid for the next day so that the public, businesses, and industry can plan ahead to take steps to reduce the pollutants that contribute to ozone formation.

Proactive steps include telecommuting, carpooling, combining errands into one trip, and refueling after 6 p.m.

An Ozone Warning means high levels of ozone are currently being measured at one or more monitoring sites in the Central Texas area. When an ozone warning occurs, individuals with chronic lung disease, such as asthma and emphysema, as well as the elderly and young children, should attempt to avoid exposure by curtailing outdoor activities.

Check out the following links cleanairforce.org and cleanairpartnerstx.org for more information on steps you can take to minimize your exposure.  

  • Limit Your Driving on Ozone Action Days
  • Ride the Bus
  • Avoid Idling
  • Postpone Refueling Your Vehicle Until After 6 p.m. and don't top off the tank.
  • Postpone Mowing Your Lawn and Using Gas-Powered Equipment Until After 6 p.m.
  • Tune Up Your Vehicle



 
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