Another Ozone Alert Day issued for Front Range; weeks-long stretch persists

Posted at 11:42 AM, Jul 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-14 22:32:31-04

DENVER — Yet another Ozone Alert Day warning was sent out on Friday, warning the public of poor air quality in Denver through 4 p.m. Saturday.

The alert is the latest in a string of ozone alerts in Colorado, with the one of the first being issued on June 26. Part of the problem is a continuously growing number of commuters in Colorado, causing ground-based pollution. 

Health experts say ground level ozone is created when exhaust particulates float into the air and are exposed to heat and sunlight.

“There’s a complex chemical reaction,” said Dr. Anthony Gerber of National Jewish Health. “Ozone is three molecules of oxygen connected to each other. One of them can break off and cause toxicity.”

He said that toxicity can inflame the lung tissue of people most vulnerable to ozone pollution, including those with pre-existing lung conditions, as well as those who are very young, or elderly.”

Chris Diaz has a congenital birth defect that constricts the right side of his lung.  He uses oxygen. Diaz told Denver7 that he can sense when there is ozone or excessive pollution in the air.

“I had shortness of breath,” he said. “It’s hard to describe, it’s like resistance.”

Diaz said he has to take more breaks when there is more pollution in the air, like there has been with wildfires burning to the west.

In order to help reduce pollution and protect your health, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has provided several tips.

At Home:

Tightly cap all solvents (paint thinners and strippers, degreasers, and some cleaning products). Solvents contain pollution-causing vapors.

Postpone painting, stripping and refinishing projects to avoid the morning and mid-day summertime heat. Better yet, wait until the Fall or Spring.

Use water-based products (paints, stains and sealants).

In the Yard:

Delay mowing your lawn to another day. Don't mow, let it grow!

Avoid using high-emitting, gasoline-powered yard equipment. Electric alternatives are an efficient, environmentally-friendly alternative.

Use an electric starter or a "charcoal chimney" to start your barbeque grill. Lighter fluid contains a lot of harmful vapors that escape into our air and contribute to summertime air pollution.

On the Go:

Stop at the click when refueling your car. Overfilling your tank often results in fuel spills and always allows unnecessary pollution-causing vapors to escape into our air.

Refuel in the evenings after dusk. By refueling after the sun goes down, fuel vapors do not have as much of a chance to "cook" in the mid-day sun and become harmful ground-level ozone.


Maintain your vehicle. A poorly-maintained vehicle can pollute as much as 25 times more than a well-maintained one.