Summer Air: Be Aware of Your Ozone Levels
Summer time in theUnited Statesbrings with it high levels of air pollution. Depending on the levels, the pollutants can affect a range of people, from those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution to those who are normally healthy. For example, at 9:00 a.m. in an area that stretches from southernGeorgiainto northernFlorida, there is a bubble of air pollution rated as unhealthy, with a surrounding bubble rated as unhealthy for sensitive groups. What this means is that all people living and working in the unhealthy area may experience health effects from the pollution.
What is air pollution, and what makes it so bad in the summer?
Most of us have heard of smog. New York CityandLos Angelesare well known for having smog alerts. Smog is mostly composed of ozone. Yes, the same ozone that scientists have been sounding alarms about its depletion. If it’s harmful to us, why do we want to save it? The ozone in the upper levels of the atmosphere is what protects us from the sun’s radiation. Unfortunately, ozone at ground level is what causes the problems.
The ozone becomes a problem in the summer because the sunlight and heat are just what it needs to form at ground level. According to the American Lung Association, almost half of the United States’ population live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone. Los Angeles is rated the number one city for days with high ozone days. All but nine of the 25 cities with high ozone levels are in the western United States.