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An air quality alert has been issued for Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for Tuesday.

The Air Quality Index is a measure of how polluted the air is.

Monday, Knoxville had an index of 64, which is average. Tuesday it's expected to jump to 101, meaning certain groups may notice the added ozone particles in the air.

On Tuesday, East Tennessee is expected to have some of the worst air quality in the country, with Knoxville, Chattanooga, and the Great Smoky Mountains expected to reach an index of 101. Only

It shouldn't affect the average person, but people with lung disease or children might notice a difference.

More facts on Ozone Alert Days from www.airnow.gov

What is ozone and why is it harmful?

Ozone is a colorless gas found in the air we breathe. Ozone can be good or bad depending on where it occurs.

Ozone occurs naturally in the Earth's upper atmosphere (the stratosphere), where it shields the Earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays.

At ground-level, ozone is an air pollutant that can harm human health. It can come from vehicle emissions, like cars, lawnmowers, construction equipment, industrial emissions, paints and cleaners.

Ozone is particularly likely to reach unhealthy levels on hot sunny days in urban environments. It is a major part of urban smog.

Ozone can also be transported long distances by wind. For this reason, even rural areas can experience high ozone levels.

Why is ozone dangerous?

At high levels, ozone can:

  • Make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously.
  • Cause shortness of breath and pain when taking a deep breath.
  • Cause coughing and sore or scratchy throat.
  • Inflame and damage the lung lining.
  • Make the lungs more susceptible to infection.
  • Aggravate lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.
  • Increase the frequency of asthma attacks.
  • Continue to damage the lungs even when the symptoms have disappeared.

Active children and adults, and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.These effects may lead to increased school absences, visits to doctors and emergency rooms, and hospital admissions .Research also indicates that ozone exposure may increase the risk of premature death from heart or lung disease.

Who is sensitive to ozone?

Some people are more sensitive to ozone than others. Sensitive groups include children; people with lung disease, such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis; and older adults. Even healthy adults who are active outdoors can experience ozone's harmful effects.

  • Refuel cars and trucks after dusk,when emissions are less likely to produce ozone.
  • Delay using gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment until air quality is healthy again.
  • Delay using household, workshop, and garden chemicals until air quality is healthy again.
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