Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pollution Alert Ozone Suffocating Sunshine State

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pollution Alert Ozone Suffocating Sunshine State

Article excerpt

Air pollution is so bad in Florida that the state is asking

children and the elderly to stay inside during the long, hot

daylight hours when smog is at its worst.

Healthy people can still go about business as usual: walk to

lunch or spend the day at the beach, experts said.

But everyone should avoid working or exercising outdoors during

the peak air pollution hours between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Exposure to ozone can cause sore throats, chest pain, breathing

difficulty, coughing and headaches.

The unusual conditions, which began Tuesday, are expected to

continue through the Memorial Day weekend.

High ozone levels are produced by a combination of high

pressure, low winds, high temperatures and low humidity, which

can trap pollution in the air.

Ozone is not a pollutant that pours out of cars or factories.

It forms when the pollution from cars, lawn mowers, boats and

other engines mixes with vapors released by gasoline and

solvents.

Residents can help reduce the air pollution being generated by

"car pooling, taking the bus -- anything that's going to cut

back on the burning of fossil fuels," said Dana Brown, a manager

at the Regulatory and Environmental Services Department in

Jacksonville.

Concern over high ozone levels and dry weather also has

prompted state Agricultural Commissioner Bob Crawford to stop

issuing burning permits statewide.

Extreme dryness increases the chances that fires will burn out

of control, and smoke would only worsen Florida's pollution

problems.

Over the past week, air monitoring stations all over Florida

have recorded dangerous ozone readings, with the highest

readings in Hillsborough, Dade, Broward, Lee, Sarasota, Manatee,

Pinellas and Pasco counties.

Is this cause for alarm? …

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