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Air Quality


Although official ozone season begins on April Fool’s Day (April 1st) and ends on Halloween (October 31st), ground level ozone formation typically isn’t an issue until the summer. Ground level ozone is a naturally occurring compound that is formed by the reaction of emissions from motor vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, power plants and industry in the presence of heat and Ozonesunlight. Since heat and sunlight are most prevalent during the summer, ozone levels are typically at their highest from June to August. High ozone levels can be especially harmful to the very young, the very old and people with chronic lung disease, such as asthma.

Despite what many people in Kansas City think, ozone is not created solely by industry. While it’s true that coal fired power plants and other industry contribute to the problem, more than 60 percent of ground level ozone is created by you and I doing everyday things. Little things like what time of day you fill your car, your driving habits and when you mow your lawn all impact Kansas City’s air quality.

With the heart of ozone season quickly approaching, try the following tips this summer to help reduce ground level ozone formation in Kansas City:

On The Road...

  • Take the bus, walk or ride a bike. (area bus fares are only 50 cents on Ozone Alert days)
  • Carpool to work. Call Rideshare at 816/842-RIDE for a free list of carpool partners.
  • Drive at off-peak hours to reduce traffic congestion.
  • Keep your car engine tuned.
  • Ask a mechanic to check your emissions control system.  

At Play...

  • Plan outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon hours and avoid prolonged outdoor exertion.
  • Plan activities that don't require motors or gasoline. Hike, bike, skate, swim, canoe, sail, golf, or play tennis and team sports.
  • Keep engines tuned in boats and other recreational vehicles.

At Home... 

  • Use a charcoal chimney instead of charcoal lighter fluid.
  • Consider purchasing an electric mower, or push mower if your lawn is small.
  • If you use a gas mower, keep it tuned and wait until evening to mow your lawn.
  • Use water-based paints rather than oil-based.
  • Limit use of pesticides, furniture polish, paint thinners, solvents and petroleum products.
  • Keep solvents and petroleum products tightly capped.

At The Service Station...

  • Avoid spills to reduce gas fumes; don't "top off" tank; tighten gas cap.
  • Wait until evening (after 7 p.m.) to fill your car with gas.

For additional information, please contact the Department of Air Quality, 913-573-6700.

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Air Quality Hours Bruce S. Andersen Phone Numbers
Health Department 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Director P: (913) 573-6700
619 Ann Avenue Monday - Friday Email   F: (913) 573-5634
Kansas City, KS      
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