High in the sky, ozone protects us from the sun. But down on the ground, ozone pollution harms the health of everyone, especially kids and the elderly.
Ozone pollution harms people’s health.
Ozone pollution causes or aggravates some of the same respiratory diseases as smoking tobacco, like:
Asthma is a respiratory issue that makes breathing difficult. Certain triggers, like air pollution, can cause airways to constrict, making it difficult to take in oxygen.
Bronchitis is a respiratory issue that causes inflammation in the bronchi, located in the lower lungs. It can result from breathing air contaminated with smoke, dust, and air pollution. For people with compromised acute systems, like the young, and elderly, bronchitis can lead to other serious illnesses, such as pneumonia.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a respiratory disease that harms lungs and the respiratory system, causing shortness of breath and making it difficult to breathe. It also progressively gets worse and is known to cause long-term health issues and early death.
Emphysema is a disease that causes the deterioration of the air sacs in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. It is usually paired with bronchitis, and causes shortness of breath.
Ozone pollution is also responsible for thousands of premature deaths in the US each year.
Ozone pollution is especially harmful in parts of Wisconsin.
In 2018, the American Lung Association gave eight Wisconsin counties “F” rating for air quality, based on EPA data from 2014-2016.
How can I know if ozone levels are unsafe?
The EPA has a Air Quality Index (AQI) to measure daily air quality and inform the public about how it might affect people’s health.
Ozone alert days are issued when the AQI value for ozone is above 100, or level orange.
The guide to the left is a helpful tool for protecting you and your family from unsafe ozone levels.
You can also sign up for email alerts or download the free AirNow app to get alerts straight to your phone.
New air quality protections are good for our health.
It is estimated that in the U.S., the new ozone protections adopted in 2015 will prevent upwards of:
Asthma Attacks in children
Missed school days
cases of chronic bronchitis in children
asthma-related ER visits
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