Air pollution occurs when chemical, physical or biological pollutants are released into the air which causes negative effects to the environment and human health. The EPA identifies six common air pollutants: particulate matter, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead. Particulate matter and ground-level ozone are the two most prevalent types of pollutants and cause the most widespread health effects. Sources for air pollution include cars, trucks, power plants, factories, agricultural areas, fires, etc.
According to the EPA, nine counties in North Texas exceed the 2015 8-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards for the pollutant ozone. Ground-level ozone pollution has harmful effects on humans, animals, and plants. It forms just above the earth’s surface through a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in sunlight and hot temperatures. Pollutants emitted from vehicles, industries, power plants, etc. are primary sources for ground-level ozone. Ozone season in North Texas begins in March and lasts through October, when the warmer temperatures create the necessary conditions for ground-level ozone to form.
For more information on ozone pollution, visit the Environmental Protection Agency.
Health Effects of Ozone Pollution
Children, older adults, those who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases, and people who are active outdoors are at a greater risk of experiencing health problems from ozone pollution. Exposure to ozone pollution can cause the following health problems in both the higher risk population and healthy people:
- Inflammation of the airways
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Asthma attacks
For more information, visit the American Lung Association or the Environmental Protection Agency.
What the city is doing to improve air quality
- Ordinance in place that sets ambient air and emission standards
- Prohibits idling vehicles
- Incorporation of electric vehicles into the city's fleet
- Partnered with Air North Texas, a regional awareness campaign that seeks to improve air quality in North Texas.
Ways you can help
- Bicycle or walk
- Bring your lunch to work
- Ensure tires are properly inflated
- Get gas early in the morning or at night
- Maintain consistent driving speed
- Use energy efficient light bulbs
- Reduce idling
- Stay up to date on vehicle maintenance
To find other ways to help, visit Air North Texas.