Hot Summer Creates Concerns Over Air Quality - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Hot Summer Creates Concerns Over Air Quality

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Most people don't think about it, but what you put in the air is vitally important to not only your health but those around you.

Kevin Dick with the Washoe County Health District said because of the hot weather, they are concerned about our air here in the Truckee Meadows.

He said there are two very different pollution seasons. 

In the winter, we get the inversion layers and the wood smoke that accumulates from people burning fireplaces and wood stoves.

This time of year, we have what Dick said is ozone pollution season.

He said there's good ozone and bad ozone.

"We have ozone that's up in the stratosphere, out of our breathing zone, very high in the atmosphere," said Dick. "That's the good ozone that helps protect us from the sun's harmful rays. We are concerned about ground level ozone."

The ground level ozone is what we breathe every day.

He said because of the warm temperatures this time of year that hot sun builds ozone.

The hot, ground ozone combined with what we send into the air, like tailpipe emissions and burning fuels, which are oxides of nitrogen, create a chemical reaction in the atmosphere, contaminating the air we breathe.

"Those emissions, in the presence of sunlight, when you've got photons hitting them creating energy and heat create ozone," said Dick. "So, it's not a pollutant we directly omit, but it's formed from the pollutants that we put out into the atmosphere."

He said if it's a high ozone day, avoid exercising. He said stay inside if at all possible because there are many health concerns that can be caused on those type of days.

"Ozone is a reactive molecule, so it's going to irritate your throat, your airways," said Dick. "It's almost like getting a sunburn on the inside when you are breathing ozone on a high ozone day."

To find out where our air quality ranks in comparison to the rest of the nation, watch my weekend show, Face the State, Saturday at 4:30am and Sunday at 6:30am.

Written by Chris Ciarlo

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