Ozone is a gas. It can be good or bad, depending on where it is. "Good" ozone occurs naturally about 10 to 30 miles above the Earth's surface. It shields us from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Part of the good ozone layer is gone. Man-made chemicals have destroyed it. Without enough good ozone, people may get too much ultraviolet radiation. This may increase the risk of skin cancer, cataracts, and immune system problems.
"Bad" ozone is at ground level. It forms when pollutants from cars, factories, and other sources react chemically with sunlight. It is the main ingredient in smog. It is usually worst in the summer. Breathing bad ozone can be harmful. It can cause coughing, throat irritation, worsening of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. It can lead to permanent lung damage, if you are regularly exposed to it.
Environmental Protection Agency
- Ozone (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)
- Air Pollution and Asthma (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Ground-Level Ozone Pollution (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Ozone Air Purifiers: Can They Improve Asthma Symptoms? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Ozone Generators That Are Sold as Air Cleaners (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Ozone Layer Protection (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Sunwise (Environmental Protection Agency)
- AirNow: Local Air Quality Conditions and Forecasts (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Green Vehicle Guide (Environmental Protection Agency)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Ozone Exposure (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Long-Term Effects of Ambient Particulate and Gaseous Pollutants on Serum High-Sensitivity...
- Article: Association between Short-Term Exposure to Ozone and Heart Rate Variability: A...
- Article: Effects of short-term exposure to air pollution on hospital admissions for...
- Ozone -- see more articles