News Release 187

Ozone monitoring season returns; simple steps can help reduce smog

Volume 38-187 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer
573-751-3807

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, APRIL 1, 2010 – As ozone monitoring season begins, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources would like to remind citizens and businesses how they can help protect Missouri’s air quality.

Ozone monitoring season begins April 1 and ends Oct. 31. Ground-level ozone – commonly known as smog – is a gas that is created when pollution from vehicles, businesses and power plants combine in the presence of sunlight. Typically, ozone pollution is more of a problem in the hot summer months because sunlight and warm temperatures speed up the formation of ground-level ozone.

Simple everyday steps can help reduce the emission of harmful pollutants that are derived from vehicles and coal-fired power plants that produce our energy. These emissions contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone.

Ozone-reducing activities include:

Exposure to ground-level ozone can contribute to health and environmental problems. Healthy adults can experience problems breathing, especially those who exercise or work outdoors. Children are at increased risk from exposure to ground-level ozone because their lungs are still developing. Ground-level ozone can also damage trees and agricultural crops.

The department maintains and collects data from 23 air monitors across Missouri to see if Missouri’s air quality meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards. If an area monitors or contributes to violations of the ozone standard, actions must be taken to reduce the emissions that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. The department works with affected areas to develop emission reducing measures that are the most effective in terms of cost and emission reductions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a more protective eight-hour average ozone standard. This new standard is expected to fall within the range of 0.06 to 0.07 parts per million, or ppm, of ozone and will be finalized in August 2010. EPA’s current primary eight-hour average ozone standard is 0.075 ppm.

Ozone monitoring data for ozone season is available from the Missouri Air Quality Data System on the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/AQDS/index.do. For more information on ozone, call the department's Air Pollution Control Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-4817 or visit the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp.

###