Ground-level ozone levels are highest during the summer months in our area. The days when ozone levels are above normal can impact our health.
Ozone, sometimes referred to as smog, is a gas that is formed in the atmosphere when three atoms of oxygen combine. The chemical structure of ozone is the same wherever it is found; however, there are two categories of ozone: stratospheric and ground-level.
The ground-level ozone can impact our health causing acute respiratory health effects if people breathe a lot of it within a short period of time. Effects can range from decreased lung function, pain with deep breath, to aggravated asthma.
Ozone Action Days have been implemented to try to reduce ozone levels on days when the forecast predicts higher than normal levels of ozone. For the Austin metro area, our Ozone forecast season begins April 1 and ends October 31.
Here are some tips to help limit ozone formation:
Limit your driving; combine trips and plan your route
Fill up your car with gas early in the morning or late in the afternoon or evening
Keep your vehicle maintained (especially tire pressure!)
Maintain your yard equipment (change the oil and replace air filters regularly)
Consider using yard tools that don’t have motors
Use paint and cleaning products with fewer volatile organic compounds