References and Community ResourcesGround-level ozone can lower your resistance to infections such as colds and pneumonia. It can also damage lung tissue, intensify heart and lung diseases (such as asthma), and cause coughing and throat irritation. When ozone reaches unhealthy levels, children and people with asthma are most at risk, but even healthy adults doing heavy exercise or labor outdoors may experience the effects of ozone. Individuals should try to limit outdoor activities when ozone reaches unhealthy levels.
Ozone pollution is a concern during the summer months because strong sunlight and hot weather result in elevated levels of harmful ozone concentrations in the air we breathe. Many urban and suburban areas throughout the United States experience high levels of ground-level ozone. Many rural areas of the country are also subject to high ozone levels as winds carry emissions hundreds of miles away from their original sources. In New Jersey, all counties experience unhealthy ozone levels during the summer months.
All of us can help reduce air pollution that can lead to ozone formation. Throughout the summer ozone season, you should:
- Properly maintain your vehicle to comply with air pollution standards
- Make sure your car's gas cap fits properly
- Refuel cars after dusk
- Do not "top off" your tank
- Avoid unnecessary trips or consolidate trips
- Limit idling your car
- Carpool or use public transportation
- Limit the use of gasoline powered mowers
- Use water-based paints
- Barbecue without starter fluid