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  • EPA Changes Ozone Standard to Better Protect Health

    Oct 01, 2015 | Read More News
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    Ozone MonitoringThe United States Environmental Protection Agency has made the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ground-level ozone stricter. The previous standard was 75 parts per billion and the new health standard is set at 70 parts per billion.



    As required by the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to periodically review the health standard for certain air pollutants to ensure the protection of public health. Ozone can irritate the airways causing coughing, wheezing, a burning sensation, shortness of breath, and it can aggravate asthma and other lung diseases, as well as make the lungs more susceptible to infection.



    Pima County Department of Environmental Quality monitors ground-level ozone at eight monitoring sites throughout eastern Pima County and has been in compliance with the previous EPA health standard.



    “The good news is that our current ozone levels meet the new, more protective standard,” said Ursula Nelson, Director of PDEQ. “However, since our levels are very close to the standard it is important to take action to reduce air pollution emissions,” Nelson said. 



    This EPA announcement begins a lengthy process of implementing the new ozone standard throughout the United States. “Because EPA will use data from 2014 through 2016 to determine if air quality in Pima County violates the new standard, we won’t know officially until next year if we violate the new standard,” said Beth Gorman, Senior Program Manager for PDEQ. “This gives us another year to work together as a community to reduce the emissions that cause ozone and, possibly, keep our good air quality status.”



    What are the most effective actions to reduce the pollutants that form ozone so we stay in compliance of the new EPA ozone standard?

    • Choose a cleaner way to go at least once a week – carpool, transit, bike or walk as often as possible.
    • Combine errands to reduce “cold starts” when emissions are higher and avoid engine idling.
    • Check tires at least once a month and keep tires properly inflated.
    • Keep engines properly tuned and avoid 2-stroke engines and engines that smoke.
    • Stop at the click when refueling to avoid gasoline spills and always tighten your gas cap securely.
    • Conserve electricity and water (a lot of electricity is used to pump water to your home or business).


    To be added to PDEQ’s air quality advisory list serve, call PDEQ at (520) 724-7446 or visit www.pima.gov/deq