Over the last two weeks, the Houston region experienced the highest ozone values of the year so far. Eleven consecutive days were declared “Ozone Action Days” by TCEQ – days in which residents are advised to limit their outdoor activity to reduce exposure to ozone, and citizens, businesses, and industry are asked to take steps to reduce the pollutants that contribute to ozone formation.
Ozone forms when a mixture of chemicals, mostly from tailpipes and smokestacks, reacts in sunlight. Exposure to the pollutant can lead to asthma attacks, heart disease and even premature death.
Residents can help prevent ozone pollution by sharing a ride or carpooling, walking or riding a bicycle, taking your lunch to work, avoiding idling your engines at schools and in drive-through lanes, conserving energy, and keeping your vehicle properly tuned.
When high ozone is predicted, the EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issue alerts, which are announced online and via email. TCEQ issues a daily air quality forecast taken from EPA and AirNow and announces ozone actions days online. You can also sign up for email or text alerts from TCEQ. TCEQ’s Twitter account also posts the daily air quality forecast during the week.