Now that spring has sprung, TCEQ website Take Care of Texas is offering tips on ways the public can decrease the amount of ozone that forms in the atmosphere when weather is hot and sunny. The agency recommends that Texans:
- Limit driving and idling by carpooling, combining errands, using public transportation, riding a bike, or walking;
- Refuel vehicles in the late afternoon or evening;
- Keep vehicles maintained, including keeping tires properly inflated;
- Maintain yard equipment, including changing the oil and replacing air filters regularly. Also consider using tools without motors. Hand tools such as shears, edgers, and push reel mowers are lightweight, quiet, and easy to use, and do not generate emissions;
- Avoid burning yard waste; and
- Use paint and cleaning products with fewer or no volatile organic compounds.
Ozone, often called smog, forms when the sunlight causes reactions between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These NOx and VOCs enter the air through vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities.
It’s important to reduce ozone because high levels can aggravate symptoms in people who have decreased lung function.