Ozone levels lead to Air Quality Alert - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Ozone levels lead to Air Quality Alert

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Thomas Nord Thomas Nord

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An Air Quality Alert alert was issued for southern Indiana and Louisville Friday as ground-level ozone blanketed WAVE Country.

"If you're short of breath, if you're having trouble breathing that probably has something to do with the fact that there may be more ozone in the air," said Thomas Nord of Kentuckiana Air Education.

Nord said the ground-level ozone is created when sunlight and heat mix with vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and factory emissions. When ozone levels are high enough to impact air quality, Nord said they are high enough to impact public health, particularly for individuals with breathing issues like asthma, COPD, emphysema, and other lung-related problems.

"This is our third {air quality alert day} this summer," said Nord. "We have not actually had any ozone exceedances, though, so this has been a very good summer for the year."

Nord credits the low level of air quality alert days to the combination of a milder summer and a growing societal push to be more environmentally friendly.

"Cars are cleaner than they used to be, began Nord. "Factories are cleaner than they used to be, overall we've made great strides over the last four decades but there's always more work to do."

Ground-level ozone levels can be reduced through energy conservation and reduced gasoline emissions. Nord suggested using public transportation, carpooling, and biking to destinations as well as refraining from using gas powered lawn mowers or filling up gas tanks during the hottest parts of the day.

While there will likely be more vehicles on the roads this weekend thanks to Labor Day travelers, Nord did not believe the additional motorists would significantly boost ozone levels.

"Once they get south of town, north of town, or east of town it's not contributing anymore.," explained Nord.

Nord said he thinks air quality alert days will continue to remain low through the final stretch of summer.

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