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    Health Effects

    The level at which unhealthy side effects occur for ozone is about 75 parts per billion, however each individual can have their own tolerance level for ozone exposure. Even healthy adults can develop lung damage from elevated ozone concentrations. The respiratory symptoms associated with lower levels of ozone exposure are generally more notable in the elderly, the young and the immune-challenged.

    In fact, pollutants like tiny airborne particles and ground-level ozone can trigger respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma.  Today, nearly 30 million adults and children in the United States have been diagnosed with asthma.  Asthma sufferers can be severely affected by air pollution.  Air pollution can also aggravate health problems for the elderly and others with heart or respiratory diseases.  The health and economic impacts of air pollution are significant.  Air pollution can significantly impact those with respiratory illness and lead to lost days at work and school absenteeism.

    The symptoms associated with high levels of ozone include:

    • Coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, dry throat, headache or nausea
    • Shortness of breath or pain during deep breaths
    • Asthma-like symptoms
    • Lung damage
    • Reduced resistance to infection
    • Tired feeling
    • Impaired athletic performance

    Costs associated with respiratory health and air quality problems:

    • The estimated health cost of human exposure to outdoor air pollutants is $50 billion a year.
    • An estimated 50,000 to 120,000 premature deaths are associated with exposure to air pollutants.
    • Asthmatics experience more than 100 million days of restrictive activity annually, costing $4 billion a year.
    • Death rates for asthma are up over 40 percent in the past few years.