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We've been talking a lot today about Air Quality. Today, June 15th is the first Red Ozone Day of the season. We hit this topic pretty hard on the air today and the more people learn about air quality and how it affects all of us, the better off we'll be.
First of all, today the problem is ground based Ozone. Ground Level Ozone is different that Ozone above our heads in the stratosphere. The Ozone hole is high up and protects us from UV rays, hence why we don't want to deplete it. Surface ozone which is a combination from our cars and sunlight together is nasty stuff that is at ground level. We don't want to breathe this in.
Long term exposure to Ozone can cause serious health issues and more people who are exposed to high amounts of ozone have more health problems.
It's not just young children and older people that feel the effects of ozone, it's all of us. People who are outside are breathing it in and the more you breathe in like if you were exercising, the worse it is. You don't need to hole up inside but if you are outside, avoid strenuous activity on high ozone days. Bring your kids somewhere like the pool where they won't be so much running around but more just hanging out in the water being cool or take them to a swing for fun. The less intense breathing the better, this also is important for adults too. Ozone peaks when sunlight is highest from 2 to 8 pm.
We realize that not everyone is going to be able to take mass transit or leave their cars at home, but there are easy things you can do. Here's some suggestions then there's more on the link on the right side of this page. Easy things you can do: 1) Talk to your coworkers before a bad air day and see about a carpool. 2) Consolidate your trips to do errands into one trip. 3) Avoid routes that have a lot of traffic if possible. 4) Mow your lawn later in the evening (remember Ozone is a heat and sunlight combo with pollutants). 5) Fill up your gas tank in the evening. 6) Pack lunch or walk to lunch instead of driving!!
These tips are way simple and a lot of people can just do one of them. Check out the links if you are concerned about AQ or just want to read or do more. We can't stop the warm temperatures from coming but we can cut down the amount of pollution we're putting into the atmosphere.
KSL Meteorologist Dina Freedman.