Increases in San Antonio’s ozone can lead to increases in ozone-related deaths, a city-commissioned study found recently.
The study estimates that 19 additional respiratory deaths would result each year if San Antonio’s ozone were to return to 80 parts per billion (or its 2012 ozone level), which exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Authority’s health-based air pollution standard of 70 parts per billion. The cost associated with these deaths is estimated to be $170 million.
The study, conducted by Ramboll Environ US Corporation, also estimates 24 deaths could be avoided annually if San Antonio’s ozone level improves below 68 parts per billion. The avoided cost of these deaths is estimated to be $220 million.
“The science is unanimous: ozone pollution compromises the health of our more sensitive residents, including children, the elderly or people with existing respiratory issues,” said Director of the City’s Metropolitan Health District, Dr. Colleen Bridger.
“Research has shown even healthy individuals are impacted by regular exposure to ozone pollution,” she said.
To raise awareness of air pollution, the City of San Antonio launched a public education campaign, “Breathe Today. SA Tomorrow,” to encourage residents and businesses to help keep the city’s air clean.
Ozone formation is favored on hot days. Higher temperatures speed the chemical reactions that produce ozone and enhance the rate of emissions from man-made sources such as evaporation of fuels.
The full study, “How Ozone Pollution Affects Public Health in San Antonio: A Study Commissioned by the City of San Antonio,” can be found here.
Tips on how residents and local businesses can help reduce air pollution can be found here.