What is Ozone?
Ozone (O3) is a highly toxic corrosive substance and a common pollutant. In low concentration it is a normal component of ambient air. Highly concentrated it is an aggressive irritant gas and at ground level it affects humans and nature.
Where does Ozone come from?
Ozone is formed in the atmosphere by reaction of nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and sunlight. Ozone protects us in higher air layers (stratosphere) from harmful UV radiation. At ground level, higher ozone concentrations form only by other pollutants (ozone precursor chemicals) and sunlight. Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds are the main precursors. Furthermore, methane and carbon monoxide (CO) contribute to the global formation of ozone. Insolation promotes the formation of ozone. High ozone concentrations thus occur mostly at midday and in the afternoon. Major sources of ozone are the chemical processes caused by industry and traffic as well as electrical current of television sets, computers, photocopiers, and electric motors (using brushes).
What are the Effects of Ozone?
Ozone causes above all respiratory ailments such as respiratory syndromes, changes in pulmonary function, increased respiratory sensitivity, and inflammation of the respiratory tract. Ozone additionally destroys the foliage of trees and other plants (photooxidation), thus aggravating the environment.