The Dangerous Effects of Ozone
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Triatomic oxygen, O3, is most commonly known as ozone. It has a
resonance structure, and can be drawn in two different ways:
O=O- O-O=O It is a bluish, explosive gas at room temperature, and has a
boiling point of -119?C. It has a melting point of -193?C, and is a
blue liquid. Its critical temperature and pressure are -12.1?C and
53.8 atm, respectively. It has a pleasant odor in concentrations of
less than 2 ppm, and is irritating and injurious in higher
concentrations. The density of ozone gas is 2.144 g/L, and the density
of ozone as a liquid is 1.614 g/mL. It is extremely unstable, and
solutions containing ozone explode upon warming. It is found in varying
proportions on Earth, but it is about 0.05 ppm at sea level.
Ozone absorbs harmful ultraviolet radiation in the upper atmosphere,
and protects humans from skin cancer. But ozone is also the main
ingredient of smog, and causes serious health effects and forest and
crop damage in the lower atmosphere. Ozone is formed through the
chemical reaction of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen dioxide,
in the atmosphere, in the presence of sunlight. This reaction is called
a photochemical reaction, because sunlight is required. The product is
known as smog. The notorious brownish color of smog is due to nitrogen
dioxide of the mixture. Increased temperature stimulate the reaction,
which is why ozone conditions are worse in the summer. It is an
oxidant, meaning it takes electrons away from other molecules, and
disrupts key structures in cells by starting chain reactions.
Ozone is a serious national problem. Half of the largest urban areas in
the United States exceed the ozone standards. The worst regions in the
US include California and the Texas Gulf coast, and the northeast and
the Chicago-Milwaukee area during the summer.
The ozone condition varies from year to year, as the temperature and
weather fluctuate. This fluctuation also occurs throughout the day, as
emissions from morning traffic builds up, the levels rise. Ozone
emissions come from many things, such as automobiles, gas stations,
power plants, dry cleaners, paint shops, chemical manufacturing pants,
oil refineries, and other business that release volatile organic
The health effects of ozone are chest pain, coughing, wheezing, lung
and nasal congestion, labored breathing, sore throat, nausea, rapid
breathing, and eye and nose irritation. The symptoms occur when the
levels of ozone are only slightly higher than the legal standard.
Living in San Diego during my elementary school year, I personally felt
the effects of ozone; the tightness of the chest, wheezing, and labored
breathing on certain hot, humid days. Days would be labeled “smog
days”, and children wouldnt be able to play outside during recess, the
air was so polluted. Heavy exercise can drive ozone deeper into the
respiratory system, and interferes with lung operation, and children
growing up in smog-polluted areas have been found to have lost 10-15%
of their lung capacity.
Ozone severely damages crops, forests, and man-made materials. The
crops affected are ones such as soybeans, peanuts, corn, and wheat, and

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Dangerous Effects Of Ozone And Crop Damage. (April 12, 2021). Retrieved from