[Source: Syleste Rodriguez, 12 News] — On a clear day sometimes downtown Phoenix can be seen from nearby mountain trails, but experts say those days are numbered. It won’t be long before car pollution coupled with hot temperatures cloud the view. “It’s some of the combustion elements that are not completely burned, they get into the atmosphere, we put 102 degree temperature on them and we cook that soup and create ozone,” Acting Director of Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Patrick Cunningham says.
ADEQ says ozone is dangerous to everyone. Some health experts used to think ozone just effected at risk groups like seniors, young children and those with respiratory diseases. Not anymore. “It’s never good for anyone to breathe unhealthy air, even if you are healthy, the idea of breathing in tons of particulate matter or high rates of ozone,” American Lung Association of Arizona Director of Government Relations Corey Woods says.
The American Lung Association conducted a study on the 25 most ozone-polluted cities in America. Phoenix ranks 9th. The top 3 are all in California: Los Angeles, Bakersfield, and Visalia-Porterville. “It’s not just numbers were looking at here, the numbers really do have real world impact on people’s health,” American Lung Association of Arizona Director of Government Relations Corey Woods says.
The EPA lowered it’s standard and made it more protective March 2008. Less than half of Maricopa County ozone pollution monitors scattered across town didn’t pass the test summer of ’08. Now the job, to work to meet the new requirement to preserve our health and the air we breathe. ADEQ says the easiest and most effective way to do your part is to carpool, ride the light rail or use the bus system, especially during the summer months and when you fill up on gasoline, do it at night because that’s when temperatures drop.