Jerry Sakai: Debunking the ozone myth | TheUnion.com

Jerry Sakai: Debunking the ozone myth

A Mr. Krosner, in his letter to the editor in The Union, wrote to inform us that Alan Stahler's column about ozone perpetuates a myth. I have read a few of Alan's science related columns and found in each case his explanations were accurate though a bit wordy.

Mr. Krosner states that is not harmful to humans until the concentration (in air) reaches about 1 percent. Health scientists, on the other hand, state concentration of ozone in excess of 0.00001 percent or 100 ppb is unsafe, about 100,000 times less than 1 percent. He further states he does not know any chemical process that causes an oxygen molecule in the presence of UV (ultraviolet electromagnetic radiation) to split into 2 oxygen atoms. That is because ozone is created by a process called photolysis or frequently described as a photochemical reaction. Thus nitric oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) produced by vehicles burning gasoline or diesel oil in the presence of UV created by the sun produces a whole of cocktail of compounds including ozone collectively known as smog.

The ozone that descends on Grass Valley and Nevada City drifts up from Sacramento.

You can believe whoever you feel has the right answer. I will stick with Alan Stahler.

Jerry Sakai

Nevada City

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