The air we breathe whether inside our homes or outside, is very important to personal and environmental health. It is especially critical to sensitive populations like those with asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Ozone - Good up High, Bad Down Low
Ozone is an emerging environmental concern for Kansas. Many of us remember that ozone occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere where it is beneficial since it protects us from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. However, ozone that forms at ground-level is not helpful; in fact, it's harmful to both human health and vegetation.
Ground-level ozone is a man-made pollutant that forms when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) mix with nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the presence of heat and sunlight. This occurs on hot sunny summer days and can be dangerous for sensitive populations. More than half of ozone-forming pollutants are caused by everyday actions, such as driving, painting, refueling and using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment. Learn more and watch a short video about ways you can help reduce ozone formations.
If you are a business that wants to learn more about how to prevent ozone formation through your business practices, contact the small Business Environmental Assistance Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the Kansas Radon Program, one in four homes in Kansas have elevated levels of radon and radon exposure in homes and other indoor environments is the leading cause of lung cancer death for non-smokers in the United States. Radon comes from the natural radioactive decay of radium and uranium found in the soil beneath the house. The amount of radon in the soil depends on soil chemistry, which varies from one house to the next. Radon levels in the soil range from a few hundred to several thousands of pCi/L. The amount of radon that escapes from the soil to enter the house depends on the weather, soil porosity, soil moisture, and the suction within the house.
If your home has not been tested, consider picking up an easy do-it-yourself test kit at your local extension office. In Sedgwick County call 316-660-0100 to inquire if kits are in stock or stop by 7001 W 21st Street N. Most kits cost about $10, and this includes all mailing and laboratory costs. Instructions on how to perform a test using these kits are available at http://www.radon.com/radon/instructions.html