Study indicates ozone kills dozens in Utah every year

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The American Thoracic Society and New York University released a scientific study of the impact of ozone pollution around the United States, showing ozone pollution kills 37 Utahns a year.

Despite the danger, ozone is easy to overlook because it's far less visible than the particulate pollution that can make winter days depressing in Utah's populated valleys.

"Ozone is a colorless, odorless gas," said Doctor Denitza Blagev, Director of the Schmidt Chest Clinic at Intermountain Medical Center.

Ozone is a naturally occurring gas that is increased by carbon pollution and is problematic when it concentrates low to the ground.

Blagev says ozone is essential as a filter high in the atmosphere, but when it concentrates at lower elevations it can harm the lungs and heart, especially among sensitive groups.

The doctor recommends paying attention to air quality reports and planning outdoor activities to avoid the hottest times of the day, which is when ozone levels spike.

Intermountain Healthcare also provided a helpful pamphlet for anyone wondering how to interpret air quality data.