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Region 1: EPA New England

Questions About Your Community: Ozone Smog

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During the summer months, New Englanders should be aware of the increased risk of ground-level ozone (smog) pollution and take the appropriate steps to protect their health and reduce air pollution on days when ozone concentrations are high. Poor air quality affects everyone, but some people are particularly sensitive to ozone, including children and adults who are active outdoors, and people with respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Exposure to elevated ozone levels can cause serious breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases, and make people more susceptible to respiratory infection. When elevated ozone levels are expected, EPA recommends that people limit strenuous outdoor activity during the afternoon and early evening hours, when ozone levels are highest.

To find out when poor air quality is expected in your area, you can check out the daily ozone forecast. You can also sign up for EnviroFlash e-mail notifications. EnviroFlash is a free service which automatically notifies you by e-mail when high concentrations of ground-level ozone are predicted in your area.

Steps to Reduce Air Pollution:
Ground-level ozone (smog) is formed when volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen interact in the presence of sunlight. Cars, trucks and buses give off the majority of the pollution that makes smog. Fossil fuel burning at electric power plants, particularly on hot days, gives off a lot of smog-making pollution. Gas stations, print shops, household products like paints and cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment also give off pollution that makes smog. Steps you can take to reduce air pollution are listed at www.epa.gov/region1/airquality/reducepollution.html. In addition, information on control strategies put in place by EPA and the states to prevent smog formation is located www.epa.gov/region1/airquality/strategy.html.

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