COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control will begin issuing daily forecasts for ground-level ozone starting March 31, the agency announced yesterday.
“During the warmer months, ground-level ozone is our state’s most widespread air quality concern,” said Myra C. Reece, chief of DHEC’s Bureau of Air Quality. “High ground-level ozone concentrations generally occur on hot sunny days when the air is stagnant. Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds react in sunlight. Ground-level ozone can create breathing problems, especially for children, people with asthma or other respiratory problems, and adults who work or exercise outdoors. Ground-level ozone can also cause tree and crop damage.”
“We provide ozone forecasts based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 eight-hour ground-level ozone standard,” Reece said. “Forecasts are provided for most of the state to heighten awareness of the effects of ground-level ozone and to help the public make healthy decisions about outdoor activities.”
According to Reece, the service includes important information such as ozone action day alerts.
“Ozone action days occur when the ground-level ozone levels are anticipated to be higher. Everyone should reduce their activity level outdoors, and those with respiratory conditions should stay indoors or limit outdoor activities as much as possible,” she said.
The information is available from:
- DHEC’s website at www.scdhec.gov/ozone.
- The EPA’s EnviroFlash webpage. EnviroFlash is a free service that can direct the ozone forecast to a user’s email address, cell phone or Twitter account as soon as the ground-level forecast is made. To sign up, go to www.enviroflash.info.
- Toll free hotline at 1-866-238-4973.
For more information about ground-level ozone, including DHEC’s programs to encourage the use of alternative commuting options, go to www.scdhec.gov/ozone.