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Health, Science & Environment

First Red Air Day of 2015 for Ozone Recorded in Davis and SL Counties

SLC_SummerSmog_003.jpg
Brian Grimmett
Typical view of the Salt Lake valley on a summer day. Ozone is a colorless vapor that can cause burning eyes, headaches and shortness of breath at higher levels.

Salt Lake and Davis Counties logged their first Red Air Days of the summer season Wednesday.

The Utah Division of Air Quality reported ozone levels as Red-Unhealthy for a short time. Donna Spangler is the spokeswoman for the DAQ.

“It’s unhealthy for everyone basically and it’s alerting people to be cautious that they avoid any extending period outside during that time,” says Spangler.

Ozone is a colorless, unstable gas that can cause burning eyes, headaches and even shortness of breath.  Spangler says if you need to exercise outside, consider doing it before 11 in the morning or after 7 or 8 PM because ozone spikes with the heat and sun of the afternoon.

“The more you’re out in ozone exposure, especially in the unhealthy levels,” says Spangler, “it’s kind of like a sunburn on the lungs. So it can cause some permanent damage.”

Spangler suggests checking the ozone levels at Air.Utah.Gov to plan the best times to be active outdoors. She says on Red Air quality days, employers are required activate trip reduction programs. Individuals should consider limiting driving by combining or delaying trips.

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