Skip to main content

Out of Breath: Health Effects from Ozone in the Eastern United States

October 1, 1999

This report describes the methods and results of an analysis estimating adverse human health effects due to ground-level exposures to ozone. In particular, the analysis estimates the incidence of hospital admissions attributable to ozone exposures in the 37 eastern states and the District of Columbia, that form the “OTAG” region.

Ozone is a strong oxidant that inflames the lungs, alters their mechanical functions, and reduces their ability to expel foreign material. It can result in decreased lung capacity, and relatively minor symptoms, such as cough and pain on deep inspiration. In addition, it may cause severe respiratory-related adverse effects, such as asthma attacks, hospital admissions, emergency room (ER) visits, and possibly even premature mortality. Long-term ozone exposure appears to be associated with the development of chronic asthma, and perhaps other chronic health problems.

Chapter 2 describes the methods for estimating ambient ozone concentrations, and Chapter 3 describes the methods used to estimate the adverse health effects associated with exposures to ambient concentrations of ozone. Chapter 4 presents results for the OTAG region as well as for 34 metropolitan areas within the OTAG region.