Central Texas is under an Orange ozone alert, meaning the air is unhealthy to people who have breathing difficulties. It happens on the day a report is issued that claims the state could see more ozone action days in the future.
The Union of Concerned Scientists projects that Texas will be one of the state worst effected by temperature-related ozone pollution over the next decade, according to a report released this morning. The high temperatures that Austin has been experiencing this summer are part of the reason they expect an increase in the amount of ground level ozone by 2020. Texas was listed second in the report of states that will suffer from increased ozone pollution associated with climate change.
Ground level ozone is harmful to children and adults over 65-years-old and is triggered by chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from industry, vehicles, power plants and some common household products. Stagnate air conditions associated with warmer temperatures can cause ozone to settle over an area for longer periods of time.
According to the report, by 2020 the United States could spend 5.4 billion in health care cost associated with ground level ozone. The cost to Texas alone could reach over a billion dollars. The report claims that 2.8 million more people will be suffer incidents of acute respiratory symptoms such as asthma attacks, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness.