picture of dirty airOzone is a poisonous, pungent smelling gas that is slightly bluish in color. Naturally occurring ozone in the upper atmosphere (Stratosphere) beneficially blocks the Sun's dangerous radiation. However, ozone formed at ground levels from man made sources presents a serious health hazard.

At ground level, ozone is produced when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react with heat and sunlight. Sources for VOCs include cars, trucks, lawn mowers, oil based paints, cleaners and some industrial operations. Since heat and sunlight help create ozone, high ozone levels are primarily a summertime issue.

Children, pregnant women, elderly people, and those with heart and lung disease are the most vulnerable to being harmed by ozone pollution. Even the healthiest of people can be harmed by ozone pollution if they exercise outdoors when ozone pollution levels are high.

Through regional efforts ozone levels in Maricopa County have been below the health based standards since 2002.

Things you can do to help reduce ozone pollution include the following:

Your Car

Never top off your tank. Spilled gas is wasteful and increases the emissions of the gases that react to form ozone.  Spilling a cup of gasoline puts as much ozone-forming pollution into the air as driving a 1993 model car 160 miles.

Fill up after 4:00 p.m.; this limits the amount of ozone produced by shortening the time gasoline fumes can react in sunlight.

Reduce summer time driving, especially during rush hour.

Your Lawn

Replace your gasoline powered lawn equipment with electric equipment.  Mowing your lawn with gas equipment for an hour creates as much total pollution as driving a 1993 model car over 2,000 miles!

Your Home


Major household projects, like painting, should be done during the fall or winter rather than during the hot summer months.

Use water-based paint. Oil-based paints contain up to five times more polluting solvents than water-based paints.

Many household cleaning products contain ozone-forming chemicals. Some alternatives that pollute less include:



  • 1/2 cup of Borax dissolved in a gallon of water 


Rug and Upholstery Cleaning


  • Sprinkle the rug or furniture with baking soda, then vacuum.


Furniture Polish


  • Mix one part lemon juice in two parts olive or other vegetable oil, or one teaspoon lemon oil in one pint of mineral oil

  • Use the oil from crushed black walnuts to conceal nicks and scratches.


Linoleum Cleaner


  • Mop with one cup white vinegar mixed with two gallons of water to remove dull, greasy film.

  • Polish with club soda


Spot Remover


  • Use club soda to remove fruit juice, tea, gravy, ketchup or mud stains.

  • Immediately soak blood stains in cold water.


Air Fresheners


  • A few drops of vanilla in a dish

  • Simmer cloves and cinnamon in water on the stove (make sure the pan does not boil dry)


Your Barbecue


  • Use self lighting charcoal, chips, flakes or cubes instead of charcoal lighter fluid.

  • Buy a propane, natural gas, or electric grill instead of a charcoal grill.  Any of these emit much less pollution and are cleaner choices than a charcoal grill.



At the Store


  • Look at the label and avoid products that contain petroleum distillates, highly aromatic solvents, terrene, aliphatic hydrocarbons, glycols and benzene.