According to recent figures compiled by the American Lung Association, nearly one-third of the U.S. population live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone. Preventing the formation of ground-level ozone through programs such as Ozone Alert! is not only an environmental concern, but also a health concern.
Ozone levels typically rise in much of the nation between May and September due to a combination of higher temperatures, more sunlight, and stagnant air masses.
Several groups of people are particularly sensitive to ozone - especially when they are active outdoors - because physical activity causes people to breathe faster and more deeply.
In general, as concentrations of ground-level ozone increase, more and more people experience health effects, the effects become more serious, and more people are admitted to the hospital for respiratory problems. When ozone levels are very high, everyone should be concerned about ozone exposure.
Many areas in the United States have enough ground-level ozone during the summer months to cause health problems that can be felt right away. Immediate problems are: