IS THE AIR SAFE?
How Smog Is Slowly Deteriorating Our Health
What is smog exactly?
Smog is the combination of fog and smoke with harmful pollutants. Smog is the result of pollutants such as the exhaust from cars, factories, and even things like aerosol hairspray and paint, that combine with other chemicals in the atmosphere.
What's ozone got to do with it?
Ozone is a gas found in the atmosphere and at ground level, and can be good or bad. "Good ozone" is being destroyed by chemicals, causing holes to form in the atmospheric layer. "Bad ozone" is formed when pollutants react chemically when exposed to sunlight. We are exposed to this bad ozone because it occurs on ground level, which is the air we breath.
How does this affect your health?
Breathing in ozone can irritate your lungs and cause chest pains and coughing, as well as the ability to breathe deeply as the ozone tightens the airways. Ozone easily triggers asthma in people who have it, and are more severely affected by the reduced lung function and throat irritation than people who don't have asthma. Breathing in ozone even damages the lining of the lungs, and can be compared to what happens when skin gets sunburned from overexposure to the sun. Overexposure to ozone can cause long term damage just like continual exposure of the skin in the sun.
Who's health is most at risk?
Children, active adults, people with asthma, and people with unusual susceptibilities to ozone are most at risk for lung damage from ozone.
Exercise and ozone?
Exercise causes you to breathe faster and harder, and thus more ozone enters your lungs. With ozone in the air, you inhale more pollutants which can cause health problems like lung disease or tissue damage. In areas with high concentrations of ground level ozone, activities like jogging, tennis, cycling, even climbing the stairs are dangerous risks to your health.
How can I help?
Cars are the largest source of ozone creators, as well as factories, paints, and chemicals. You can help reduce ozone levels by driving less, carpooling or riding the bus, keep your car checked, trying not to spill gasoline, use less aerosols, seal chemicals properly, and keeping them from spilling.