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Ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog, is formed when emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds react in the sun. Sources for these emissions include power plants, factories, motor vehicles, chemical solvents and consumer products. When inhaled, ground level ozone can cause acute respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and discomfort in the throat and chest, aggravate asthma, reduce lung function, inflame and damage lung tissue, and impair the body's immune response to respiratory infection. Children, especially those with asthma, are at the greatest risk from ozone pollution. During the summer, when concentrations of ground-level ozone are highest, children playing outside are most likely to experience respiratory symptoms and effects.
Several months ago, the Air Program submitted its recommendation for the 8-hour ozone designation. Even though the reservation is located in the Northeast Ozone Transport Region, the area was recommended for attainment.
The Air Quality Program is part of the Northeast Regional Planning Organization (RPO) for Regional Haze and Visibility. This involves developing a long-term strategy for reducing the precursors of haze. Eventually, this strategy will be incorporated into the Tribal Implementation Plan currently being developed. With increased emphasis on collecting local data, the SRMT Air Quality Program purchased an ozone monitor. Once setup, data from this monitor will be submitted to the RPO for future planning strategies and for the use of the Tribe.
The Tribe will use a UV Absorption Ozone Analyzer with EPA approval (EQOA-0992-087). This analyzer is a microprocessor-controlled analyzer that uses a system based on the Beer-Lambert law for measuring low ranges of ozone in ambient air. A 254 nm UV light signal is passed through the sample cell where it is absorbed in proportion to the amount of ozone present. Every four seconds, a switching valve alternates measurement between the sample stream and a sample that have been scrubbed of ozone. The result is a true ozone measurement unbiased by interferences.