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Ozone Questions and Answers

What is ozone and how is it formed?

Ozone, a major seasonal component of smog, is created by sunlight reacting with chemicals found in gasoline vapors and emissions from vehicles and industrial smoke stacks.

DEC constantly monitors ozone levels throughout the state and issues health advisories in cooperation with the New York State Department of Health when elevated ozone levels are predicted. The advisories are aired through the media and are also available on the toll-free Ozone Hotline number: 1-800-535-1345.

What should you do when a Health Advisory is issued?

Limit strenuous outdoor work, athletic activity and exercise. Energetic activity increases the rate of breathing and the amount of air inhaled, allowing pollutants in the air to penetrate to the deepest parts of the lung. Help reduce pollutants in the air by driving less and using car pools and mass transit systems.

What are the health effects of ozone?

Too much ozone in the air can make breathing difficult and painful. Shortness of breath, chest pain, throat and eye irritation, coughing and wheezing can occur.

Does ozone affect everyone equally?

No. Although health advisories are meant for everyone, some people are more sensitive than others to pollutants in the air. Most susceptible are people with respiratory or cardiovascular ailments and young children.

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