Many people are sensitive to the irritant gas ozone
The persistently high temperatures and cloudless weather conditions result in a significant increase in ozone values. In Hesse, the limit of 180 micrograms of ozone per cubic meter of air was exceeded early Monday evening, according to the State Office for Environment and Geology in Wiesbaden. In Marburg (185.7 micrograms of ozone per cubic meter of air at 1 p.m.), for example, the limit was exceeded. In North Rhine-Westphalia, some measuring points have also found that limits have been exceeded, reports the State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection in North Rhine-Westphalia.
"At higher concentrations, ozone can lead to health problems in the respiratory tract," warns the Hessian State Office for the Environment and Geology. Outdoor efforts should therefore be avoided and sporting activities reduced or rather shifted into the morning hours. Vulnerable people and children in particular would have to deal with considerable problems even if the limit value was slightly exceeded. If values of more than 240 micrograms of ozone per cubic meter of air are reached, complaints such as respiratory tract irritation with corresponding breathing difficulties, increased cough, irritation of the mucous membrane, tear irritation and headache also appear in more resistant people. It is not uncommon for those affected to initially confuse the symptoms with summer flu.
High levels of air pollutants favor exceeding the ozone limit values If the summer weather continues, the ozone values could continue to rise in the coming days and may exceed the official alarm value of 240 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The possible health impairments in the population would be correspondingly serious. In addition to the high temperatures, the low air movement and humidity are responsible for the rise in the ozone values. The values are particularly high in regions with a high level of pollution in the air (mostly urban areas), since ozone is created, among other things, when the air pollutants are broken down by sunlight.
Long-term damage to health caused by ozone The serious effects ozone can have on health can be seen in particular when considering the long-term effects of the irritant gas. For example, the “Rheinische Post” reports, referring to the testimony of experts from the US environmental protection agency EPA, that recent studies have shown how ozone can also damage the heart and impair the cardiovascular system in the long term. The ozone load would encourage cardiac cells to programmed cell death. Exercise is particularly critical with increased ozone concentrations, since the individual exposure correlates with the amount of breath. During physical exertion, the respiratory rate increases, which means that an increased ozone intake occurs even when the ozone values remain the same.
Children particularly at risk from high ozone levels Infants are particularly at risk from high ozone concentrations, as they also breathe a larger amount of air than adults (in relation to body weight) even at rest, reports the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ). This means that they absorb more ozone without additional physical strain. If children suffer from allergic breathing difficulties such as pollen allergy or asthma, the rising ozone concentration can be a major burden for them in general, the BVKJ continues. In addition to the already mentioned irritation of the respiratory tract and mucous membranes, it is not uncommon to see an increase in heart rate or rapid heart rate, reports the professional association of pediatricians. The BVKJ experts recommend that parents let their children play in cool rooms in the hours between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. when the ozone concentration is high and avoid all physical exertion outdoors. Romping around and sport is taboo, even if it is often difficult to convey to the children. (fp)
Also read about ozone:
Health risk due to increased ozone concentration
High levels of ozone can damage the heart
Health: Ozone levels continue to rise
Increased ozone levels endanger health
High levels of ozone aggravate allergies
Air pollution harms children's health
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