According to National Geographic: "The ozone layer is one layer of the stratosphere, the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere. The stratosphere is the mass of protective gases clinging to our planet."
Ozone (O3) is a naturally occurring gas that can be beneficial at high levels in the upper atmosphere, where it acts as a protective shield against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
However, at ground level, ozone can be harmful to human health.
Breathing in ozone can irritate the lungs and airways, leading to a range of symptoms such as cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, and worsening of asthma and other respiratory conditions.
It can also irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and can cause chest tightness and wheezing. Long-term exposure to ozone can also have more severe health effects, including lung damage and an increased risk of respiratory infections.
Ground-level ozone is formed by a chemical reaction between pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight.
Ozone levels are typically highest during the warm summer months and in urban areas with high levels of pollution.
It's important to note that people with respiratory or heart problems, children, and older adults are more likely to be affected by ozone pollution.
Also, people who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as athletes and outdoor workers, may be at an increased risk of experiencing symptoms from ozone exposure.
The EPA and other organizations regularly issue ozone alerts and air quality warnings during times when ozone levels are expected to be high.
If ozone levels are high in your area, you can reduce your exposure by staying indoors, limiting outdoor activities during peak ozone hours, and paying attention to air quality reports.