When inhaled, ozone can aggravate the lungs and can lead to chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and, throat irritation. Ozone may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections. On days when ozone air pollution is the highest, ozone air pollution has been associated with as much as ten percent (10%) to twenty percent (20%) of all summertime respiratory hospital visits and admissions.
People vary widely in their susceptibility to ozone. Healthy people, as well as those with respiratory difficulty, can experience breathing problems when exposed to ozone. Exercise during exposure to ozone causes a greater amount of ozone to be inhaled, and increases the risk of harmful respiratory effects.
Actions You Can Take
- State agencies will use television and radio to notify citizens of ozone alerts. On days when your State or local air pollution control agency calls an Ozone Action Day, people with asthma should limit prolonged physical activity outdoors. Consider adjusting outdoor activities to early in the morning or later in the evening.
- Also, on Ozone Action Days, you can do the following 10 things to help keep ozone formation to a minimum:
- Instead of driving, share a ride, walk or bike.
- Take public transportation.
- If you must drive, avoid excessive idling and jackrabbit starts.
- Don’t refuel your car, or only do so after 7 p.m.
- Avoid using outboard motors, off-road vehicles, or other gasoline powered recreational vehicles.
- Defer mowing your lawn until late evening or the next day. Also avoid using gasoline-powered garden equipment.
- Postpone chores that use oil-based paints, solvents, or varnishes that produce fumes.
- If you are barbecuing, use an electric starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid.
- Limit or postpone your household chores that will involve the use of consumer products.
- Conserve energy in your home to reduce energy needs.