FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2011
Ground-level ozone forecast season underway
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has begun issuing daily forecasts for ground-level ozone, the agency announced today.
"During the warmer months, ground-level ozone is our state's most widespread air quality concern," said Myra C. Reece, chief of DHEC's Bureau of Air Quality. "High ground-level ozone concentrations generally occur on hot sunny days when the air is stagnant. Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds react in sunlight. Ground-level ozone can create breathing problems, especially for children, people with asthma or other respiratory problems, and adults who work or exercise outdoors. Ground-level ozone can also cause tree and crop damage.
"We provide ozone forecasts based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2008 eight-hour ground-level ozone standard, which is 0.075 parts per million," Reece said. "Forecasts are provided for most of the state to heighten awareness of the effects of ground-level ozone and help the public make healthy decisions about outdoor activities."
According to Reece, the forecasts provide important air quality information such as ground-level ozone forecasts and ozone action day alerts.
"Ozone action days are days when the ground-level ozone levels are anticipated to be higher; everyone should reduce their activity level outdoors and those with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, should stay indoors or limit outdoor activities as much as possible," she said.
The information is available from:
- The EPA's EnviroFlash webpage: EnviroFlash can direct the ozone forecast to an e-mail address, cell phone or Twitter page as soon as the ground-level forecast is made. To sign up, go to: http://www.enviroflash.info.
- DHEC's website: http://www.scdhec.gov/ozone
- Toll free hotline: 1-866-238-4973
For more information about ground-level ozone, including DHEC's "Take a Break from the Exhaust" program to encourage the use of alternative commuting options, call Jack Porter at (803) 898-3829 or go to: http://www.scdhec.gov/baq.