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Ozone peaks in urban areas during late afternoon.
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Courtesy of UCAR

Ozone in the Troposphere

Did you know that ozone is found in two different layers of the atmosphere? You may have heard of the ozone hole problem - that is where ozone is missing in the stratosphere (the 2nd layer of the Earth's atomsphere). But ozone is also found in the troposphere, the first layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. In the troposphere, ozone is NOT wanted! It can actually do a lot of damage.

Driving cars and burning fossil fuels (like coal and oil) produces more ozone in that first layer of the atmosphere. This is what we call 'bad' ozone!

It is bad because ozone helps create smog or pollution that can be harmful to people, animals and even plants! When ozone pollution reaches high levels, pollution alerts are put out telling people with breathing problems to stay inside. That's no fun! Smog can damage lung tissues, impair an athlete's performance, increase attacks for people with asthma, and give people headaches.

Rubber, cloth and certain paints may be damaged by ozone. Some elastic materials can become brittle and crack (take a look at old rubber bands!).

How do we help get rid of all of this "bad" ozone? You can help every day by choosing to take the bus or walk to school. And maybe you could talk to your parents about buying a new hybrid car as their next car!

Last modified June 11, 2004 by Jennifer Bergman.

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