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What is Ozone?

Learn how ozone forms and how you can prevent bad ozone. This helps keep our air clean.

Stay healthy

TIP: During the summer, fill your gas tank during the cooler evening hours and be careful not to spill gasoline.

This helps reduce ozone in Albuquerque.

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Image of a Greek bust with an arrow pointing at the nose. The word "Ozone" is derived from the Greek word "Ozein," which means "to smell."
An ozone molecule is made up of three oxygen atoms. Illustration of an Ozone Molecule

EPA says, "Ozone is Good Up High, but Bad Nearby"

Ozone: Good Up High, Bad Nearby


The EPA explains more about good ozone vs. bad ozone.

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Good Ozone vs. Bad Ozone

Illustration of the ozone layer blocking the sun's rays. The Ozone Layer resides 10-30 miles above the Earth, inside the Earth's Stratosphere. This layer of "Good" Ozone shields us from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.
Ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant that can hurt your lungs and damage vegetation. Illustration of smoke coming from a factory, creating ground level ozone.


Natural Ozone Formation

Illustration of the sun and a freed oxygen atom about to bond with  an oxygen molecule. Ozone forms naturally in the Earth's stratosphere.
The sun's radiation breaks apart oxygen molecules. The freed oxygen atom bonds with an oxygen molecule, forming ozone!


Ground Level Ozone Formation

Illustration of a car and a factory emitting pollutants. Vehicles and factories emit pollutants such as Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) into the air.
On sunny, hot days, a photochemical reaction occurs. NOx and VOCs react with oxygen, forming ozone at ground level.
Ground level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that can hurt your lungs and damage vegetation.

Illustration of the sun causing a photochemical reaction with Nitrogen Oxides, Oxygen and Volatile Organic Compounds.