Who is at risk?
Ozone in the air we breathe can harm everyone's health, especially on hot sunny days when ozone can reach unhealthy levels. Even relatively low levels of ozone can cause health effects.
People most at risk from breathing air containing ozone include the following:
- People with lung diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema will generally experience more serious health effects at lower ozone levels.
- Children are at higher risk from ozone exposure because they often play outdoors in summer when ozone levels are higher and their lungs are still developing.
- Older adults may be more affected by ozone exposure, possibly because they are more likely to have pre-existing lung disease.
- Active people of all ages who exercise or work outdoors have higher exposure to ozone than people who are less active.
- Some healthy people may experience health effects at lower ozone levels than the average person even though they have none of the risk factors listed above. There may be a genetic basis for this increased sensitivity.