Air Quality Facts
- Ozone is created when heat and sunlight react with hydrocarbons and
nitrogen oxides that are emitted by automobiles, auto body shops, gas
stations, organic solvents, and dozens of other sources. When all these
mix, they form a ground-level layer of ozone, also known as smog.
- Ozone in the upper atmosphere protects the earth from ultraviolet
radiation. Ozone in the lower atmosphere, where we breathe, is a pollutant.
- The effects of ozone are most dangerous for people with asthma or
other lung disease, children and the elderly. But even healthy individuals
can feel the effects when the air quality is at its worst, particularly
when exercising or exerting themselves.
- When inhaled, even at very low levels, ozone can:
Cause acute respiratory problems
Cause a 14-20 percent decrease in lung capacity for healthy adults
Cause inflammation of lung tissue
Lead to hospital admissions and emergency room visits
Impair the body's immune system defenses, making more people
susceptible to respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and
- Children are most at risk from exposure to ozone because their lungs
are still developing and they breathe more rapidly and inhale more air
pollution per pound of body weight than adults. They also often breathe
through their mouths, which mean the pollution bypasses the body's first
line of defense: the nose.
- Asthma prevalence has increased by more than 75 percent in the last
12 years and is the leading chronic illness among children.
- The St. Louis Metro area has the highest rate of asthma hospitalizations and emergency room visits in Missouri.
- According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, there are approximately 140,000 adults with asthma in the St. Louis Metro region.
- Some areas of St. Louis are estimated to have 15-20% of children who
suffer from asthma, and up to 50% of children experience some type of
asthma-like wheezing or chronic cough.
Transportation and Ozone Facts
- St. Louisans make 7.2 million vehicle trips each day. Of these trips, 5.3 million are single-occupancy trips.
- In 2008 alone, St. Louisans drove over 71 million miles every day.
- The most recent mobility study from the Texas Transportation Institute found that St. Louis area motorists spent over 32.9 million hours in traffic, wasted 20.6 million gallons of fuel and doled out $697 million in congestion costs in 2007 alone.
- One person riding in a Vanpool/Carpool instead of a car can save the environment 225 pounds of harmful emissions every year.
- The average commuter can save about $3,500 per year by sharing the ride instead of driving alone to work.
- A single highway lane can accommodate 2,250 people per hour in cars
and 9,000 people per hour in buses!
- Two MetroLink tracks have the same capacity as 16 lanes of highway!
- A full MetroBus at rush hour removes 40 cars from the highway, and
a full MetroLink train at rush hour removes 125 cars from the highway.
- Commuters can contact any of the following to link up with a carpool,
vanpool or try MetroBus or MetroLink:
• American Lung Association: www.breathehealthy.org
• Metro (MO): www.metrostlouis.org
• Madison County Transit: www.mct.org
• RideFinders: www.ridefinders.org
• Citizens for Modern Transit: www.cmt-stl.org
- Operation of a gasoline-powered lawn mower for one hour is equal
to driving a new car between 200 and 300 miles from an air pollution
- If every household postpones their gas-powered lawn gardening on
RED DAYS, we would save 25 tons of toxic air pollutant emissions each
- Every day the vapor recovery systems at St. Louis gasoline stations
help to prevent more than 11 tons of ozone-forming gasoline vapors from
entering the air. These vapors are equal to the weight of 10 sub-compact