Today kicks off the official ozone season, when higher ozone concentrations can make air unhealthy to breathe. The season of “smog” begins April 1 and lingers until October.
Last year many Texas counties got an “F” for high ozone levels by the American Lung Association: Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Galveston, Harris, Hood, Montgomery, Orange, Parker, Tarrant, Travis and more. Houston was ranked the 7th most ozone-polluted city in the country, with Dallas-Fort Worth not far behind, ranked at 13th.
What’s different this year? In Texas, there are more people, more cars, and more industry. Mixed with hot summer days, this may mean higher ozone concentrations, which can translate to more asthma, more bronchitis, more emphysema and more complications from cardiovascular disease.
In other words, we need to be more vigilant than ever about keeping ozone levels low. Along those lines, here are some simple steps that we can all take to do our part:
- Make it a routine to look at the air quality index (AQI) before you plan your activities for the day.
- Understand what the colors on the AQI mean when you hear them on the news and restrict outdoor activities accordingly: orange (unhealthy for sensitive populations); red (unhealthy for the general population); and purple (very unhealthy for the general population). Read More