Ozone and Your Health

ozonemoleculeThe many negative health effects high ozone levels (<50) in the air are well-known NOW another has been added.


Ozone is good but only up in the stratosphere where it protects earth form the suns damaging rays, it is down here where high ozone in our air does damage. Ozone down in our atmosphere is formed by pollutants man creates (volatile organic compounds [VOCs] and oxides of nitrogen) and is worst on hot sunny days. Allot where I live in the SW.

Yes these pollutants are man-made think about emissions from: car, planes and trains as well as construction equipment, lawnmower, gas stations and don’t forget the paints and cleaners!

Symptoms of too much include scratchy sore throat to dry cough in health folks to worsening breathing for those with asthma and other lung conditions. Recent research (5-year case-crossover study in 12 Canadian cities) have shown that short-term exposures to high levels of ozone appear to increase the risk of perforated appendicitis. Curious!

The findings suggest that even a week of increased ozone levels can result in a 7% increase in the risk of appendicitis, according to Gilaad Kaplan, MD, the head researcher. It is important to note the ‘jury’ is still out as to whether the link is ‘causal’ or whether high ozone levels are a marker for other factors that contribute to an increase in the appendix becoming inflamed.

FYI: While there are many air quality websites, I like is www.airnow.gov. The EPA sponsors this site and affords not only ozone air levels but also pollution by particle size (2.5-10mm and greater than 10mm). Particle matter (PM) can be so small you need an electron microscope to see or coarser and greater than 10mm. Also the carbon monoxide concentration is on the same page.