Ozone Action Season is an awareness campaign that encourages individuals, businesses, and industries to take action to reduce ozone levels. Ozone pollution is a lung irritant that can be dangerous for those with respiratory conditions, such as children, the elderly, and people who engage in a lot of outdoor exercise.

Ozone forecasts predicting air quality conditions are available from the end of April through September. To stay informed about ozone forecasts during Ozone Action Season, please send an email to env.information@toledo.oh.gov.

Five Ways to Reduce Ground-Level Ozone Formation

Drive Less

Drive more slowly, share a ride, chain trips, walk, or bike. Take public transportation. Park the car and walk into the building instead of using the drive-thru.

Pump After Dark

Refuel your car or fill gas cans in the morning or after 6 p.m. Avoid spilling gas or releasing vapors.

Reduce Energy Consumption

Conserve energy in your home to reduce energy needs:

  • Hang clothes outside to dry rather than operate a dryer
  • Set your thermostat between 76-78 degrees in the summer to reduce air conditioner use
  • Run dishwasher and washing machines only when fully loaded
  • Turn off lights and appliances when not in use
  • Insulate and weather-strip your home

Maintain Your Vehicle

Get a tune-up and inflate tires to the correct pressure.

Cut Down on Fumes

Use environmentally safe paints and cleaning products whenever possible. Apply paint with rollers and brushes instead of sprays to cut down on fumes and to save paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a colorless gas found in the air we breathe. Ozone can be good or bad depending on where it occurs:

  • Ozone occurs naturally in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (the stratosphere), where it shields the Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
  • At ground-level, ozone is an air pollutant that can harm human health.

Where Does Ground-Level Ozone Come From?

Ground-level ozone is formed when two types of pollutants react in the presence of sunlight. These pollutants are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen. They are found in emissions from:

  • Vehicles such as automobiles, trucks, buses, aircraft, and locomotives
  • Construction equipment
  • Lawn and garden equipment
  • Sources that combust fuel, such as large industries and utilities
  • Small industries such as gas stations and print shops
  • Consumer products, including some paints and cleaners

How Does Ozone Affect Health?

Ozone can:

  • Make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously.
  • Cause shortness of breath and pain when taking a deep breath.
  • Cause coughing and sore or scratchy throat.
  • Inflame and damage the lung lining.
  • Make the lungs more susceptible to infection.
  • Aggravate lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.
  • Increase the frequency of asthma attacks.
  • Continue to damage the lungs even when the symptoms have disappeared.

These effects may lead to increased school absences, visits to doctors and emergency rooms, and hospital admissions. Research also indicates that ozone exposure may increase the risk of premature death from heart or lung disease.

Who is Sensitive to Ozone?

Some people are more sensitive to ozone than others. Sensitive groups include children; people with lung disease, such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis; and older adults. Even healthy adults who are active outdoors can experience ozone’s harmful effects.

What Can My Business Do to Reduce Ground-Level Ozone Formation?

Businesses and industries can take additional steps to reduce hydrocarbon emissions, which cause high ozone levels. Here are some best management practices for businesses and industries:

  1. Implement an Ozone Action Season Plan
  2. Encourage employees to share rides or carpool
  3. Use conference calls to avoid travel
  4. Coordinate voluntary efforts to reduce emissions through technological advances
  5. Delay fleet fueling until late in the day
  6. Publicize Ozone Action Season on government broadcast channels