TOLEDO – As temperatures climb over the next week, air quality forecasts indicate that people with lung conditions or other sensitivities should take precautions to protect their health.
Ozone pollution becomes a greater concern in hot weather. Throughout the summer, Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) works with the City of Toledo’s Division of Environmental Services to release daily ozone forecasts that help people plan for reduced air quality.
Daily air quality forecasts range from “Good” or “Satisfactory” to “Precautionary Measures Should be Taken by Sensitive Groups” and “Caution.” Over the next week, Saturday and Sunday are rated Satisfactory, while precautions are urged on Monday and Tuesday.
Ozone at ground level can damage lung tissue, and research shows it also damages growing plants and can affect agriculture. Breathing ozone can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma, reduce lung function, and inflame the linings of the lungs. Repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue. Healthy people can also have trouble breathing when exposed to ozone pollution.
Ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. Because ozone forms in hot weather, anyone who spends time outdoors in the summer may be affected, particularly children, outdoor workers and people exercising. Children are especially vulnerable because of their developing lungs.
People can reduce their exposure to ozone by changing the time of their activity, or simply taking it easier on days when ozone levels are expected to be high. For example, a runner could run in the morning when ozone levels are lower, instead of in the afternoon. During the hottest time of the day, children and people with asthma or breathing problems should spend more time in air-conditioned areas.
TMACOG shares information and promotes the importance of air quality during Ozone Action Season. To learn more, go to www.ozoneaction.org