According to a formal statement made on Wednesday by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) literally hundreds of US counties have air considered too dirty to breathe. In fact, breathing smoggy air can be hazardous because smog contains ozone, a pollutant that can harm your health.

The EPA announced new reduced tolerances on the acceptable amounts of ozone which is allowed in the air and still be considered safe to breathe. The original standard of allowable concentration of ozone, set a decade ago, allowed for no more then 80 parts per billion – the new standard is 75 parts per billion.

While EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson calls the new limits “the most stringent standards ever” and 49% of counties monitored will now be forced to make air quality improvements. This new standard is not in-line with the opinion of many health experts.

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a colorless gas composed of three atoms of oxygen. At or near ground level ozone los angeles aqi emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources that react chemically in the presence of sunlight.

What are the some of the dangers of Ozone exposure?

While most people with existing heart or lung conditions will already have been warned about the potential dangers of smog especially on hot and humid days, this common issue effects us all. According to Adam Brochert, MD, “All persons are at risk of being affected by smog. The most commonly cited effect of smog is on the lungs and breathing.”

Common Symptoms of Heavy Smog Exposure

 

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Painful Breathing

 

What can I do to reduce Ozone Levels?

  • Drive your vehicle less, try car-pooling or ride a bike
  • Properly maintain your vehicle
  • Limit vehicle engine idling
  • Reduce your energy consumption
  • Use products with the Energy Star label
  • Use environmentally safe paints and cleaning products
  • Have a fireplace? Use gas logs instead of burning wood
  • Mulch or compost leaves and yard waste