Ozone Action Season
May – September
TMACOG and the City of Toledo Division of Environmental Services partner during Ozone Action Season to keep the public informed and to try to reduce the amount of ozone precursors produced locally. In the summer of 2012 there were a significant number of days when the ozone levels called for precautions. See the data here.
• To receive the ozone forecast by e-mail, please ask to be added to the Ozone Action Season list: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your e-mail address. You can also go to www.epa.gov/airnow for information on other parts of the country.
• Forecasts will be made twice each week, or more often during periods of unusual weather conditions. Forecasts will predict one of four levels of air quality conditions: Good; Satisfactory; Precautionary Measures Should be Taken by Sensitive Groups; and Caution.
Ozone that is part of the Earth’s upper atmosphere is helpful to us; it shields us from ultraviolet radiation. But ozone that accumulates at ground level is dangerous. Ozone at ground level damages lung tissue in people and animals, and research shows that it also damages growing plants and can affect agriculture.
Breathing ozone can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Healthy people also experience difficulty breathing when exposed to ozone pollution. Ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. Repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue. Because ozone forms in hot weather, anyone who spends time outdoors in the summer may be affected, particularly children, outdoor workers and people exercising.
Ground-level ozone also damages vegetation and ecosystems. It leads to reduced agricultural crop and commercial forest yields, reduced growth and survivability of tree seedlings, and increased susceptibility to diseases, pests, and other stresses such as harsh weather. In the United States alone, ground-level ozone is responsible for an estimated $500 million in reduced crop production each year.
Why Individual Actions Matter
Half of the hydrocarbons that lead to ozone come from the actions of individuals – driving cars, maintaining a home, using chemicals like paint or lighter fluid. This means that individuals can have a significant effect on reducing ozone through conscious efforts. We’ve regulated factories and other point sources of air pollution. It’s much harder to affect the non-point sources.
Protect Your Health
People can reduce their exposure to ozone by changing the time of their activity or simply taking it easier on days when ozone levels are expected to be high. For example, a runner could run in the morning when ozone levels are lower, instead of in the afternoon when conditions tend to be more favorable for ozone formation. During the hottest time of the day, children and people with asthma or breathing problems should spend more time in air-conditioned areas.
Healthy Car, Healthy Passengers
Cars with under-inflated tires take up to 5 percent more energy to operate. The average well-maintained car emits 33 pounds of pollution every 100 miles. Cars that are not in compliance with state emission standards emit approximately 5 times that amount.