The Valley enters the official ozone season April 1.
Ozone is an invisible gas created when other pollutants in the air — like emissions from vehicles — are heated by the sun. With the Valley’s temperatures warming up, the “season” doesn’t conclude until the end of September.
The pollutant made an early seasonal debut Thursday when the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued a health watch.
Ozone is also created when emissions from industrial and chemical processes, and even household activities, react with heat from the sun.
Last year — 2011 — the Valley saw exceedances of the federal ozone health standard and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued 11 high-pollution advisories and 29 health watches for ozone.
“Ozone pollution is a very real concern that can easily be reduced through small, everyday actions, but everyone must take part,” explains Maricopa County Air Quality Department Director Bill Wiley. “Choosing to refuel after dark, avoiding drive-thru lines or even switching to CFL bulbs, can reduce ozone concentrations.”
Ground level ozone can trigger asthma and aggravate other existing health conditions.
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