Ozone is formed when pollutants from cars, power plants, refineries, industrial boilers, and chemical plants react chemically in the presence of the sun. Ozone on the ground level is a harmful air pollutant. Ozone when in the air we breathe can harm human’s health, especially on hot sunny days when the ozone can rise to unhealthy levels. This is specifically a problem during the summer when its typically hot and sunny outside, which is necessary for the pollutants to react with the heat and light of the sun. Small amounts of ozone can still cause health effects.
Some people are more at risk when breathing air containing ozone like those with asthma, children, older adults, and people who work outside or are very active outdoors. Those with certain genetic characteristics and people with a reduced ability to take in nutrients like vitamin C and E have a greater risk from ozone exposure. Although children have the highest risk of exposure to ozone because their lungs aren’t fully developed yet and they are outdoors more often when ozone levels are high.
Health Effects of Ozone
There are many health effects of ozone many of which can be hard to deal with. Ozone can cause muscles in the airway to constrict which traps air in the alveoli. This can cause shortness of breath and wheezing. Ozone can make it difficult for people to breathe deeply and energetically. It can even cause pain when taking deep breathes or shortness of breath. Coughing, sore or scratchy throat, inflammation and detriment to the airways are all side effects of ozone.
Ozone can also aggravate lung diseases like asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. It can increase the frequency of asthma attacks and make the lungs more vulnerable to infection. Even when symptoms have gone away, ozone can continue to damage the lungs.
Ozone can even be the cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which are a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult for people to breathe. The shortness of breath, cough and frequent respiratory infections can also lead to fatigue, inability to exercise and chest tightness.
Many of these effects can happen to healthy people but are more serious in people with lung diseases like asthma. The effects can lead to absence from work or school, medication increase, visits to the doctor and possible emergency or hospital visits which can be very costly.
Ozone is likely one of the various causes of asthma development. Long-term exposure is also been connected with the irritation of asthma. If exposed to higher levels of ozone, it can lead to permanent lung damage.
Some recent studies have regularly reported that short-term ozone exposure is associated with total non-accidental mortality, which includes death caused because of respiratory issues.
Air Pollution and Health
Air pollution is a source that can cause negative health effects. Fine particles that are produces from burning fossil fuels like coal or petroleum for energy production are a source of air pollution. Noxious gases like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, are examples of air pollution. Ozone on the ground level is also air pollution. Tobacco smoke, household products or chemicals, mold, pollen, asbestos, lead, gases, are all examples of air pollution that can have health effects.
Research has found that there are a variety of health effects that are associated with air pollution exposure. Prominently respiratory diseases like asthma or changes in lung function are linked to air pollution. Cardiovascular diseases, adverse pregnancy and even death can be caused from exposure to air pollution.
Outdoor Air pollution was even concluded to be a carcinogen to people.
One way to combat air pollution is to check the local Air Quality Index to reduce outdoor air pollution exposure when the Index level is high in the area. Avoiding heavy traffic when it is possible and avoiding second hand tobacco smoke can help reduce your risk of air pollution exposure.
How Does Asthma Affect Your Circulatory System
Asthma can double your risk of circulatory events like a heart attack, stroke or similar condition. Taking asthma medication can increase your risk of a circulatory event by 60 percent over 10 years.
The circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system is an organ system that allows blood to circulate through your body delivering nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones and blood cells to cells in the body. Asthma has been significantly connected to increase the risk of a heart attack or a circulatory event.
There are many ozone machines that claim to be air purifiers. Yet ozone machines intentionally produce ozone which is harmful. Certain machines make out like they are always safe but no agency of the federal government has approved the machines for use in occupied spaces. Ozone can cause health problems at high levels so it’s important that research machines claims and manufactures with the EPA or federal government before it’s assured that ozone machines are approved for indoor spaces.