Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Ozone monitoring shows improved air quality
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 6, 2006) - Ozone pollution in Kentucky has demonstrably declined, according to data compiled through an eight-month ozone monitoring season by the Kentucky Division for Air Quality (DAQ), Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today.
"Cleaning our air is another way we are building strong communities and healthy Kentuckians," Governor Fletcher said. "Clean air obviously is vital for good public health. A cleaner environment and healthy communities are important to Kentucky’s continued economic growth and prosperity."
Data from DAQ monitors indicated eight occasions in which ozone levels exceeded the federal eight-hour ozone standard. Three of the eight "exceedances" occurred in Oldham County, with one each in Jefferson, Hancock, Daviess, Boyd, and Greenup counties. In 2002, Kentucky monitors measured 229 exceedances, and every monitor in the state recorded at least one. The annual monitoring season is March 1 through Oct. 31.
Ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of heat and strong sunlight.
One in three people in the United States is at a higher risk of health problems from ground-level ozone, which can inflame and damage the lining of the lungs. Studies show repeated, long-term exposure to ozone can permanently scar lung tissue and cause loss of lung function.
In November 1997, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted an eight-hour ozone standard based on research indicating that extended exposure to lower levels of ozone might be as harmful as short-term exposure to elevated levels. The eight-hour standard is exceeded when an average level of ozone over an eight-hour period is 0.085 PPM or greater.