What does an Ozone Alert day mean?

VIDEO: What does an Ozone Alert day mean?

Quick Facts:

  • There are two ozone layers, an upper layer which is good and protective, and a lower layer that is harmful to our quality of life
  • Excessive lower layer ozone exposure can lead to shortness of breath, chest pain, and wheezing or coughing
  • Taking precautions when an Ozone Alert is issued, can help minimize any further damage

The last “Ozone Alert Day” Tulsa saw was in 2019 on September 5th.

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Typically in Tulsa and surrounding areas, the "ozone awareness" season falls from May to September or the hottest months of the year. What happens during these months, is that the summer-time heat "cooks" ground-level pollutants leading to the "bad" layer of ozone. These pollutants can include chemical reactions from different gasses and the sunlight, emissions from industrial facilities and utilities, motor exhaust and gasoline vapors.

If the measurements of these pollutants are above a safe level deemed by the EPA, then an Ozone Alert is issued for the area.

Long-term or repeated exposure to high levels of ozone may lead to some health problems, especially for the young, elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory problems. It is possible to experience reduced lung function and increase respiratory discomfort.

There are some things you can to do to help out on ozone alert days:

  • Avoid lawn work with gas-powered equipment
  • Avoid filling up the gas tank in the middle of the day, wait till on your way home or another day
  • Try to carpool if possible, reducing emissions from multiple cars heading to the same place
  • Postpone any errands if at all possible, wait to do them on a different day

Since 2000, there have been more than 150 days with an Ozone Alert issued for Tulsa County. There is a table below that breaks down the Ozone Alert Days issued by year and month.

Year May June July August September Total Ozone Alert Days
2019 20th 5th 2
2018 9th, 10th, 17th 19th, 20th, 25th 1st, 2nd, 10th 9
2017 8th 3rd 13th 3
2016 20th, 28th 28th 10th 4
2015 10th 1
2014 24th 1
2013 13th 12th 22nd 4th 4
2012 18th 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 21st, 22nd, 28th 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th 4th, 5th 21
2011 3rd, 15th, 24th, 28th 2nd, 6th, 8th, 9th, 15th, 29th 3rd, 4th, 5th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 13th 25
2010 28th 12th, 19th, 23rd, 28th 5
2009 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 30th 1st, 7th, 11th, 16th 13th, 25th 11
2008 18th, 28th, 31st 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 26th 8
2007 2nd, 3rd, 14th, 15th, 16th 5
2006 25th 12th, 15th, 29th, 30th 1st, 2nd, 17th, 19th, 20th, 21st 24th 12
2005 21st, 22nd, 24th, 25th, 26th 30th 1st, 2nd, 4th, 10th 3rd, 4th, 5th 13
2004 15th, 21st, 22nd 3
2003 2nd, 3rd, 30th 6th, 7th, 23rd, 26th, 27th 8
2002 24th, 25th 9th, 10th, 25th 6th, 9th, 31st 8
2001 26th 11th, 25th 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th 14th 8
2000 17th 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 15th, 16th, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th 15

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