The 2013 ozone season has concluded.
During the months of May through September, ozone forecasts will be made predicting one of four levels of air quality conditions:
Good, Satisfactory, Precautionary Measures should be taken by Sensitive Groups, and Caution. As in previous years, specific Ozone Action Days will not be designated. Forecasted air quality levels will be made available a minimum of twice each week, and information will be provided to promote public awareness of ozone health issues. More frequent updates may occur during periods of unusual weather conditions.
The levels of ozone (from best conditions to worst):
Precautionary Measures Should be Taken by Sensitive Groups
Ozone Action Season Best Management Practices to Reduce Ground-level Ozone Formation
10 Tips for the Public
- Drive less. Drive more slowly. Share a ride, chain trips, walk or bike. Take public transportation.
- Refuel your car or fill gas cans in the morning or after 6 p.m. Avoid spilling gas or releasing vapors.
- Conserve energy in your home to reduce energy needs: hang clothes outside to dry rather than operate a dryer, set your thermostat between 76-78 degrees in the summer to reduce air conditioner use.
- Properly maintain your vehicle. Get a tune up and inflate tires to the correct pressure.
- Turn your car off. Park the car and walk into the building instead of using the drive thru.
- Change your mowing habits. Mow the lawn less frequently or mow earlier in the morning or in the evening.
- Insulate and weather-strip your home.
- Run dishwasher and washing machines only when fully loaded.
- Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
- Apply paint with rollers and brushes instead of sprays to cut down on fumes and to save paint.
6 Tips for Business and Industry - Implement an Ozone Action Season Plan.
- Encourage employees to share rides or carpool.
- Use conference calls to avoid travel.
- Coordinate voluntary efforts to reduce emissions through technological advances.
- Delay fleet fueling until late in the day.
- Publicize Ozone Action Season on government broadcast channels.
Ozone and Health
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 new research shows that it also damages growing plants and can affect agriculture. Breathing ozone can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. "Bad" ozone (ground-level ozone) also can reduce lung function and inflame the linings of the lungs. Repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue. 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. Because ozone forms in hot weather, anyone who spends time outdoors in the summer may be affected, particularly children, outdoor workers and people exercising. Children are especially vulnerable because of their developing lungs. Millions of Americans live in areas where the national ozone health standards are exceeded. 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. Ground-level ozone also damages the foliage of trees and other plants, affecting the landscape of cities, national parks and forests, and recreation areas.
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.
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.
Contact: Mary Pat McCarthy: email@example.com 419.241.9155 ext 106
Ozone Action Season - Changes to Warning System
The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) and the City of Toledo Division of Environmental Services have changed the way they announce ozone action warnings. In years past, an "Ozone Action Day" would be called by 2 p.m. when it was anticipated that weather conditions would produce unhealthy levels of ozone on the following day. An awareness campaign focused on what actions the public could take on that day to reduce ozone levels. In the new program, forecasts will be made during the entire Ozone Action Season (May through September). Forecasts of ozone levels will be made available at least twice each week and information will be provided to promote public awareness of ozone health issues. More frequent updates may occur during periods of unusual weather conditions. One reason for this change in public announcement is the change in the ozone standards as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Acceptable standards for ozone have been made more stringent after recent studies showing the effects of ozone on people and agriculture. To receive the ozone forecast by e-mail, please ask to be added to the Ozone Action Season list. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sample 2013 Ozone Forecast Message:
Tuesday, May 27, 2013 - Satisfactory
Wednesday, May 28, 2013 - Satisfactory
Thursday, May 28, 2013 - Satisfactory
For comment on Ozone Action Season, contact:
David Gedeon, AICP, Transportation Project Manager. 419.241.9155 ext. 125 (TMACOG).
Ground level ozone is a lung irritant and can be especially dangerous to those with respiratory conditions, children, the elderly, and those who do a lot of outdoor exercise.