Ground Level Ozone that has a chemical structure known as O3, is a pollutant formed with particular compounds in the presence of sunlight. The general formula for this reaction is as follows: VOCs + NOx + Sunlight = Ozone.
VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. These are ingredients that are commonly used in homes, in the form of fuels, cleaning, disinfecting, paints, varnishes, wax, cosmetic, degreasing, etc. Some of these are relatively safe, while some are quite toxic. Though there are many manmade sources of VOCs, there are many natural sources too, such as trees (CAQF Fact Sheet two, 2007).
The next constituent in the equation is NOx, which stands for nitrogen oxide gases. This is a general term that is used to refer to a group of highly reactive gases. All these gases contain nitrogen and oxygen in differing quantities. Main sources of NOx include automobiles, electric utilities, as well as commercial, industrial and residential sources that use fuels (Cornwall County Council, 2007).
With these two ingredients reacting in the presence of sunlight and hot weather conditions, ground level ozone forms. When this forms, cloud cover and wind direction are affected. Also low wind speeds result1.
Lung damage experie
Ground Level Ozone Impact on Public Health:
Ground Level Ozone is known to:
irritate your respiratory system
reduce lung function
inflame and damage cells that line your lungs
aggravate chronic lung diseases
cause permanent lung damage (Jonson et al, 2000, 14562-14573)
Lung damage experienced through Ground Level Ozone may occur without any detectable signs. Individuals living in regions that frequently have high levels of ozone tend to experience diminishing symptoms. However, while the symptoms may diminish, the damaging effects continue. Efforts to combat this have included awareness of Ground Level Ozone peak hours. People are advised to simply stay indoors at these hours, regardless of you not feeling any symptoms (Jonson et al, 2000, 14562-14573).
Past Measures to Reduce the Impact of Ground Level Ozone:
Efforts have been made to determine what levels of Ground Level Ozone are harmful for people in general. There are standards established that are generally accepted. However, they are not specific. One main reason why this is so is due to the fact that different people are known to react differently to Ground Level Ozone. It is said that a lot of this behavior is influenced by age and genetics2.
Another effort to help people keep themselves safe during Ground Level Ozone peaks includes the development of an AQI [Air Quality Index]. This index is scales the levels, and indicates the levels through color codes. This makes it easy for the common man to understand when Ground Ozone Level is reaching damaging levels (Jonson et al, 2001, 526-536).
With stations for real-time measuring Ground Level Ozone in different areas, it can be asserted that the data collected is quite accurate. This information is collected and compiled to produce animations and maps that allow the common man to understand the exact status of the Ground Level Ozone. However, it can be argued that with this data, it is difficult to determine areas that do not have a Ground Level Ozon