Site has lowdown on ozone

A Pennsylvania nonprofit organization using Department of Environmental Protection data to warn residents about high ozone levels has launched its own World Wide Web site.

Ozone Action's Web site (www.ozoneaction.org) provides information to educate residents about what they can do during the summer months to lower the ground-level ozone level, which affects breathing.

Using information collected from more than 40 DEP monitoring stations, the site allows residents to check the ozone level of the most heavily populated areas. The information is posted regularly.

Ground-level ozone is caused when the sun heats pollution from vehicles, power plants, households and industry. Children, elderly people and those with respiratory problems are the most susceptible to breathing problems caused by ozone, but even active people have difficulty during high-ozone days.

The site aims to educate residents about how they can help lower their own pollutant output during high ozone days.

"It's important to tell people that the air we breathe during the summertime can reach unhealthy levels," said Christy Young, DEP spokeswoman. "There are actions we can take." To reduce pollutants people can carpool, conserve household energy, not use lighter fluid on grills and even refuel cars at night so gas vapors don't bake in the sun.

The site also provides lessons and educational games to teach children about environmental issues.

The DEP is one of many organizations and businesses that are partners with the organization.

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