Letter: Ozone pollution on the rise in Larimer County

A public health crisis is stalking Larimer County. Ozone pollution has been on the rise and it reaches to Red Feather Lakes and beyond. Cities and towns through our county score a big red “F” on our American Lung Association’s, ozone report cards. Along with this grade comes the statement from stateoftheair.org, “If you live in Larimer County, the air you breathe may put your health at risk.”

According to the county’s Community Health Assessment summary, there are no plans in place to address the escalating ozone issue. One reason given is a reduced public interest in protecting environmental quality. The reduced interest may have been caused by either the lower ozone levels preceding 2010 or, a public which is desensitized to the impacts of ozone on health.

According to the EPA, “even relatively low levels of ozone can cause health effects… Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. It can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Ground level ozone also can reduce lung function and inflame the linings of the lungs. Repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue.”

So if you see the rise in ozone pollution as a critical public health concern, please contact the Larimer County Board of Health and let them know you’re concerned. You can reach them at boh@co.larimer.co.us.

Devin Hirning
Fort Collins, CO

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