Longer, hotter days means ozone season is here

April 02, 2013

April marks the start of Ozone Season in the Valley, which runs through September -- a longer-than-average season for higher levels of ozone pollution.

Ozone is produced when heat and sunlight interact with vehicle emissions and other chemicals in the air, so the long, hot days of summer are prime conditions for producing elevated ozone levels.

Bob Huhn from Maricopa County’s Air Quality Department says ozone is colorless and odorless but it is still dangerous.

“It is a direct threat to your lungs and can trigger asthma and other symptoms,” Huhn said. “Children are at higher risk from elevated ozone levels because their lungs are still developing and they’re more likely to be active outdoors.”

Older adults with respiratory problems and adults who exercise out doors should also avoid being outside on days when pollution levels are high.

Last year Maricopa County saw 29 days with ozone levels above federal health standards, slightly more than in previous years, though Huhn said the increase is not significant.

Cutting down on driving, avoiding waiting in long drive-thru lines with the engine running, and refueling in the evening are all ways to reduce ozone.

You can find more ozone information from the Maricopa County Air Quality Department at www.cleanairmakemore.com.

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