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Air Quality: EPA's Integrated Science Assessments (ISAs)

Ozone

Click to download the final report of the Integrated Science Assessment for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants (2013) (PDF)(2228 pp, 1,105 MB)
(PDF, 1251 pp, 40 MB,
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The Issue
Ozone is a gas that occurs both in the Earth's upper atmosphere and at ground level where it is a key component of urban smog. Ground-level ozone causes a variety of effects on human health, vegetation, and ecosystems and it affects climate. Human exposure to ozone is associated with respiratory and cardiovascular effects as well as premature death. Ozone exposure causes visible foliar injury, decreases plant growth and affects ecosystem community composition.

Peak ozone levels typically occur during hot, dry, stagnant summertime conditions. Millions of Americans live in areas where ozone levels exceed EPA's health-based air quality standards, primarily in parts of the Northeast, the Lake Michigan area, parts of the Southeast, southeastern Texas, and parts of California.

EPA Action
EPA's ozone research efforts are focused on improving emissions estimates, determining health and ecological effects, and improving modeling capabilities. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to periodically review the science for six major air pollutants, including ozone. EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment develops Integrated Science Assessments (ISAs) that summarize the science related to the health and ecological effects caused by these pollutants. ISAs provide a comprehensive review of the policy-relevant scientific literature published since the last National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQS) review and are a critical part of the scientific basis for establishing the NAAQS. EPA released the Integrated Science Assessment for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants in Jan 2010. [See the history of Ozone for more detailed information]

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