What is ground-level ozone?
Ozone is a gas that is formed by the combination of nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and sunlight. Ground-level ozone is what people commonly refer to as smog.
How does ground-level ozone affect me?
Ground-level ozone can be harmful to your health if you work or exercise outdoors on a regular basis in the summer, if you have respiratory problems, or if you are a child, or elderly. Short term effects of ground-level ozone include pain when taking a deep breath, coughing, eye irritation, and aggravation of respiratory illnesses like asthma. Long term effects of ozone include reduced lung function and lung damage.
Why are children especially vulnerable to ground-level ozone?
- They play outside on summer afternoons
- Their lungs are still developing
- They breathe more rapidly than adults
- They inhale more pollution per pound of body weight than adults do
When is ground-level ozone a problem?
Ground-level ozone is mainly a problem between May and September every year.
What can I do?
- Reduce travel on days with poor air quality.
- Rideshare to work or carpool when going out with friends. Visit MetroRideshare.com to find out more
- Ride transit, bike, or walk to work instead of driving.
- Refuel after dark.
- Bring your lunch to work, instead of driving to lunch.
- Have children play indoors on days with poor air quality.
- Ask your employer if teleworking is an option. Learn more at TeleworkBaltimore.com
- Check out the color-coded Clean Air Partners Air Quality Action Guide.
What is the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board doing to improve air quality?
The BRTB checks each transportation plan and program in the region to make sure that the ground-level ozone problem in the Baltimore region does not get worse as a result of transportation projects. This also helps us to make sure that these plans do not prevent us from meeting the federal ground-level ozone standard. This is done through what is called the Conformity process. Learn about how the BRTB addresses transportation-related air pollution.
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