Air Quality Strategies:
Preventing Ozone Pollution
Ozone is created when nitrogen oxides (NOX)
and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) combine in a reaction
energized by sunlight. Ground-level ozone is a major
constituent of smog. Many states and communities have developed
ozone forecasting programs, so that people can take health precautions
when ozone levels are high. Some communities have gone even
further, taking measures to prevent the production of ozone
pollution in the first place.
Motor vehicles, power stations and industrial boilers are the primary sources of NOX in urban areas. The primary source of VOCs in urban air are the incomplete combustion and spills of fossil fuels. Solvents, paints, cleansers, household products and barbecue lighter fluid also release VOCs into the atmosphere.
A variety of measures intended to prevent the formation of ozone have been initiated under the auspices of the federal Clean Air Act. Reformulated house paint that contains and releases fewer VOCs, tighter emissions standards for new cars, and cleaner-burning fuels all help prevent the formation of ozone.
Air Quality Index website contains a section on Ozone Maps,
which provides animated maps showing peak and 8-hour ozone concentrations
in different regions of the United States. This website
also offers a variety of online fact sheets and other resources
related to ozone pollution.
Good up High, Bad Nearby is a publication from EPA that
is available online. It provides basic information about the
differences between ground-level and high-altitude ozone. Another
EPA publication with good background information is How
Ground-level Ozone Affects the Way We Live and Breathe.
Tips for Improving Ozone Air Pollution and Ozone
Fact Sheet, excerpts from the State of the Air 2001,
are offered by the American Lung Association.
Commission is a group of 13 states working together
to reduce ground-level ozone in the Northeast. These states
have taken aggressive regional action against ozone and its
contributing pollutants, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile
organic compounds (VOCs).
Partners for Clean
Air is a midwest coalition of regional businesses, transportation
organizations, health advocacy groups and local governments
seeking to improve overall air quality and public health by
advocating voluntary actions in metropolitan Chicago and northwestern
Indiana. Partners for Clean Air administers a voluntary ozone
reduction program called Ozone Action Days.
Several states and cities have active governmental and nonprofit
ozone prevention programs. For examples, see Galveston-Houston
Association for Smog Prevention, Louisiana's OzoneAction!
program, New Jersey
Ozone Action Partnership and the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation section on Ozone
can you do something for clean air? is a set of tips
for preventing ozone-forming pollutants that individuals can
apply in their daily lives, at work, at home, and while recreating.
It is provided online by the City of Austin (Texas) Air Quality
Solvent Cleaning with Aqueous Cleaning
Journal Sentinel has a special section of their website
devoted to ozone prevention and reporting of Ozone Action days.
Last updated October 6, 2003
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