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  • Ozone Action Day: What to Know and Do

    When your city or community declares an Ozone Action Day, these guidelines will help you keep the air in your neighborhood safer.

    Mother and daughter doing ballet at home. Full length of happy girl and woman are performing dance together. Females are dancing against windows.

    • Ozone pollution is a growing issue in population-dense areas of the United States. Between 2015 and 2017, more than 141 million Americans lived in counties with unhealthy levels of particle or ozone pollution.¹

      Here, we’ve outlined what you need to know about participating in Ozone Action Days—and how you can reduce your carbon footprint in your day-to-day life.

      What is ozone pollution?

      “Ozone” doesn’t just refer to the air in our outer atmosphere—it also refers to the air we breathe when we go outside our homes. As a precaution to help keep air quality safer for residents, cities will sometimes call for an Ozone Action Day to decrease the amount of pollution going into the air.

      What is an Ozone Action Day?

      The Ozone Action Day program launched in 1998 to increase public awareness about the dangers of poor outdoor air quality.² The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) measures pollution using the Air Quality Index (AQI), and an “ozone action alert” goes out when ground-level ozone (the air near the Earth’s surface that we inhale) reaches a level of pollution that poses a threat to sensitive groups, such as the elderly, children or people with asthma.² There are two different types of alerts: An Ozone Action Advisory is declared when the air is unhealthy for the aforementioned sensitive groups, and an Ozone Action Alert is declared when the level of pollution outside is unhealthy for everyone.²

      What do I do on an Ozone Action Day?

      It’s important to watch for an Ozone Action Day in your community, so you can better protect yourself and others from potentially unsafe air outside. You can find daily AQI measurements from AirNow, the United States’ air quality program created in partnership with the EPA.

      Plus, if you use the Filtrete™ Smart App, you can easily check for a report on the air quality outside each day.

      When there is high pollution or an Ozone Action Day is declared, AirNow, the official reporter of daily AQI levels across the U.S., suggests taking immediate action to save energy:³

      • Turn your air conditioner up.
      • Limit car trips.
      • Refuel vehicles after dusk.
      • Decrease use of household, workshop and garden chemicals that can release pollutants into the air.
      • Keep windows closed to avoid the risk of exhaust, smog and other unwanted particles entering your indoor air.
      • Change your HVAC filter regularly (we recommend at least every 90 days for 1” filters; and every 12 months for 4”, 5” and 6” filters).

      How can I reduce my emissions and take better care of the air?

      Some simple steps can help decrease your carbon footprint and avoid unnecessary air pollution. Instead of taking your car to work or school, try biking or taking public transport whenever possible.³ You can also help by using environmentally-friendly home materials. Spray foam insulation and recycled steel emit fewer harmful particles than other options. Next time you redo your roof, consider using 3M smog-reducing roofing granules that pull smog particles from the air.

      Staying informed on air quality and participating in Ozone Action Days are simple and effective ways to take care of yourself, your family and community. Plus, knowing the air outside is safer and cleaner means you can enjoy spending time outside even more.


      1. http://www.stateoftheair.org/key-findings/

      2. https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/planning/ozone/

      3. https://www.airnow.gov/education/what-you-can-do/