TULSA, Okla. — Quick Facts:
- The ozone layer higher up in the atmosphere is beneficial, ground-level ozone is dangerous and can be harmful to our quality of life
- Excessive lower layer ozone exposure can lead to shortness of breath, chest pain, and wheezing or coughing
- Taking precautions when an Ozone Alert is issued, can help minimize any further damage
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has issued an Ozone Alert for Wednesday, June 22, for the Tulsa metropolitan area.
An ozone alert means that conditions are favorable for the buildup of ozone near the ground, to an unhealthy level.
When winds are light, the vapors from fuels such as gasoline, exhaust from engines, and air pollutants from industrial activities remain trapped near the ground. If sunshine is abundant when these air pollutants build up, a chemical process is triggered that results in the development of ozone near the ground during the afternoon and evening hours.
While ozone in the upper levels of the atmosphere is beneficial in screening the suns radiation, it is harmful near the ground. Ozone can bother those with respiratory problems and can damage vegetation.
Long-term or repeated exposure to high levels of ozone may lead to some health problems, especially for the young, elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory problems. It is possible to experience reduced lung function and increase respiratory discomfort.
A few simple measures can be taken to help keep the ozone levels from becoming unhealthy. During ozone alert days.
- Postpone any unnecessary driving and car pool if possible.
- If you do drive to work, turn the air conditioner in your car off during your morning commute.
- You can also cut down on extra driving by bringing your lunch to work.
- Postpone any errands if at all possible, wait to do them on a different day
- If you must refuel your vehicle, do it in the evening after the sun goes down or postpone your fueling to another day.
- Postpone running the lawn mower and gas trimmer, the exhaust from these small engines contributes a significant amount of pollution to the air.
- Industrial facilities should reduce pollution emissions as much as possible on ozone alert days.
These preventative measures, performed throughout the Tulsa metro area, can have a tremendous effect in reducing the pollutants that contribute to ozone problems.
For further information, contact the Oklahoma Department of Environmental quality at (918) 293-1600 or the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) at (918) 584-7526.
The last Ozone Alert Day was June 17th, 2021. There were three Ozone Alert Days issued last year. The most Ozone Alert Days issued in a year was in 2011 with 25 Alert Days
Additional information can also be found at www.ozonealert.com, Including current ozone levels around the Tulsa area.
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