Health

How Are People Exposed to Ozone?

Exposure occurs when people breathe ambient air containing ozone. The rate of exposure for a person is related to the concentration of ozone in the surrounding air and the amount of air the individual is breathing per minute.

What Are the Health Effects of Ozone?

Everyone’s respiratory system is potentially at risk from ozone, including shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and eye and nose irritation.

Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. It can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Ozone can also reduce lung function and inflame the linings of the lungs, and repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue.

Individuals most at risk from exposure are children, the elderly, and individuals with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Healthy people can also experience difficulty breathing when exposed to ozone pollution. Because ozone forms in hot weather, anyone who spends time outdoors in the summer may be affected, particularly children, outdoor workers, and people exercising.

As a principal component of smog, ground-level ozone also has a role in safety issues arising from reduced visibility.

What are the Environmental Effects of Ozone?

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 increases susceptibility to diseases, pests, and other stresses such as hard weather. Ozone also damages the foliage of trees and other plants, affecting the landscape of cities, national parks and forests, and recreation areas.

Stay Air Aware

You can be part of the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission Ozone Action Day Program. We’ll notify you the afternoon before a broadcasted Ozone Action Day.