Ozone AwareA Voluntary Ozone Education, Outreach, and Awareness Program
The Problem: Unlike the good, protective ozone layer in the stratosphere, ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that affects all of us. It’s formed when emissions from everyday items combine with other pollutants and “cook” in the heat and sunlight. Sources of such emissions include local industry, gasoline-powered vehicles and lawn equipment, and household paints, stains and solvents. Weather plays a key role in ozone formation. The highest ozone levels are usually recorded in summer months when temperatures approach the high 80s and 90s and the wind is stagnant or light.
At ground level, ozone is a health hazard for everybody, especially the young and elderly. Those who are active and exercising outdoors may experience breathing difficulties and eye irritation. Prolonged exposure may result in reduced resistance to lung infections and colds. Ozone can also trigger attacks and symptoms in individuals with pre-existing conditions, like asthma or other respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
The Program: The “Let’s Take Care of Our Summer Air” summer ozone education and outreach program is designed to increase public understanding and awareness of the causes and solutions for ozone pollution.
Denver’s ozone season runs from June through August. During this time, the RAQC will work with meteorologists at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue “Ozone Action Alerts”, notifying the public when ozone levels could potentially reach unhealthy levels. On Ozone Action Alert days, we are asking citizens to take simple actions to reduce emissions.
>keep our cars well maintained
>refuel after 5 p.m. on hot, sunny days
>stop at the click – don’t overfill gas tanks
>walk to lunch and run errands after work
>take the bus at least once a week
>use gas-powered lawn equipment after 5 p.m on hot, sunny days
>avoid painting and staining projects in the heat of the day
>tightly cap solvents; store in a cool place
Our educational campaign also includes television, radio, print and outdoor advertising, in addition to events and outreach to media and local governments. You can find out about current air quality conditions and sign up for Ozone Action Alerts on our program website at www.OzoneAware.org.