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Air article gave wrong impression

The May 2 article “County gets ‘F’ for air” gives an erroneous impression of Nevada County’s ozone problem in several ways.

The article states “Nevada County’s unhealthy days come only when temperatures rise above 100 degrees during the hottest months.” While high ozone is generally associated with warm weather, ozone violations occur when the temperature is well below 100 degrees, and can happen as early as April and as late as October.

In several places the article mentions that last summer we had low ozone by historical standards, but doesn’t make clear that this was almost certainly due to unusually favorable weather conditions. So when we return to more “normal” conditions, the ozone levels will almost surely go up again.



The article states that high levels of ozone can “make breathing difficult” without mentioning that a growing body of evidence shows that ozone can cause lasting respiratory, pulmonary and cardio-vascular damage, especially in children.

Lastly, the article implies that our ozone problem only appears to be getting worse due to lowering standards, without explaining that the EPA standards are becoming stricter precisely because recent research shows that ozone has adverse health effects at significantly lower levels than previously realized.




Paul Frederickson

Grass Valley


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