DHEC to issue ozone forecast

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014

COLUMBIA – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has begun issuing daily forecasts for ground-level ozone, the agency has announced.

“During the warmer months, ozone is our state’s most widespread air quality concern,” said Myra C. Reece, chief of the DHEC Bureau of Air Quality. “High ozone concentrations generally occur on hot sunny days when the air is stagnant. Mobile sources, such as cars, trucks, and lawn equipment, contribute to over half of our ozone levels. South Carolinians can make smart choices everyday to make our air cleaner and healthier by adjusting their daily transportation habits by carpooling, reducing idling time, driving less, and using outdoor equipment in the evenings.”

Reece said ozone can create breathing problems, especially for children, people with asthma or other respiratory problems, and adults who work or exercise outdoors. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ozone can also cause tree and crop damage.

“We provide our forecasts to help the public make healthy decisions about outdoor activities,” Reece said. “When ozone levels are forecast to reach unhealthy levels, we declare an ozone action day. When these are declared, we encourage everyone to reduce their activity level outdoors. We also suggest that those with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, should stay indoors or limit outdoor activities as much as possible.”

Ground-level ozone forecasts are available at:

DHEC’s website: http://www.scdhec.gov/ozone

A toll-free hotline: 1-866-238-4973

The EPA’s EnviroFlash webpage. EnviroFlash is a free service that can direct the ozone forecast to a user’s email address, cell phone via text message, or Twitter account as soon as the ozone forecast is made. To sign up, go to www.enviroflash.info.

For more information about programs to encourage the use of alternative commuting options, go to http://www.scdhec.gov/YouHoldtheKeySC.

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