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What You Can Do About Ozone


Preliminary data from area air pollution monitors indicate that the Kansas City metropolitan area has recently violated the federal ozone standard.

The federal ozone standard is designed to protect people from health effects associated with long-term exposure to the pollutant. Ground-level ozone can irritate the eyes, nose and lungs, causing inflammation, chest pains and difficulty breathing.
Ground-level ozone is a man-made pollutant formed, in the presence of sunlight, from a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds are emitted from a variety of sources such as cars and trucks, industrial and power plants, and paint and solvent use.

Ozone monitors take readings from the air at several locations around the region between April 1 and Oct. 31 each year, which is the portion of the year when ozone is most likely to form.

EPA is working with state and local air quality partners to review and determine the accuracy of the monitoring data. EPA expects that, if a violation of the ozone standard is confirmed, Kansas and Missouri will immediately initiate actions to implement measures to reduce ozone concentrations in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Kansas City area residents can help reduce ground-level ozone by following these simple tips:

● Use mass transit and carpools and bike or walk to work, school or on errands. Remember to take special care during ozone alert days if you have breathing problems.

● Keep your car or truck properly maintained and see a repair technician if your “check engine” light is on.

● Refuel after 7 p.m., and don’t top off your gas tank. This reduces vapor loss (and saves money) during refueling.

● Use an electric or push lawn mower. Avoid using gasoline-powered yard machines.

● Avoid lighter fluid when barbecuing. Use a chimney or electric starter to light your coals.

● Become more energy efficient. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs and turn the air conditioner up a few degrees.


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