Do you think there is any harm in going for a brisk 3-mile run on a summer afternoon in the metro-Atlanta area? It’s not a good idea. The ozone level is highest in the late afternoon and early evening.
Late afternoon readings of ozone are typically highest for the daily cycle of ozone levels. It’s not a good time to be out running.
Temperatures are beginning to rise in Atlanta, and other northern hemisphere cities. And with it, increased air pollution. And increased health problems, especially for youth who have asthma.
There was an interesting article on cnn.com about how air pollution affects children, and how increased exposure to outdoor polluted air exacerbates the problem. One of the best things that parents and children can do is to be aware of the ozone level for the day, and take the precautions that will lessen asthma related effects.
One place to find the air quality in a USA location is an Air-Now page on the EPA site. In other countries you can contact the environmental protection agency at the government level. For example in Australia, you can find this information at the government’s environment site. Here are some others: China, Canada, UK, Botswana, Argentina.
You can also monitor air pollution yourself. For several years, we worked with students around the world showing them how to monitor the air near their school, and then use the Internet to share their results. The monitoring system we used was a very clever device invented by Gary Short, himself an asthmatic, and entrenpenur. He called the device an ecobadge, and it is a strip of paper that changes color when exposed to the air. Color changes can be used to measure ozone in parts per million. Here are pictures of the ecobadge which you can clip to your shirt and walk about as you monitor the air, and a card showing the color changes used to measure the ozone level.
This is the Ecobadge. A strip of paper that has been chemically treated to react to ozone in the air is slipped into the Ecobadge. The top exposes in one-hour; the bottom in eight-hours. The value of ozone can be read by matching the color change to the color circles or by using a card as shown below.
If you are a teacher, or a parent home schooling, you might take a look at these websites:
The Globe Program
US Environmental Protection Agency: Ground Level Ozone
Vistanomics: Source of Ozone Monitoring Kits
U.S. Government Clean Air Act