Please help me to understand about ozone, I am very confused. Environmentalists tell me the ozone layer is being depleted and allowing harmful UV rays in. The health department says there's too much ozone and it is causing health problems. This conflicting information is very confusing. Do we have too much or too little ozone? Can someone please explain?

The ozone molecule, which consists of three atoms of oxygen, has a number of properties. If you breath in ozone it is a poison, so too much ozone near the earth’s surface is a problem. Ground level ozone is mainly a result of pollution from motor vehicles.

Ozone also absorbs ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Too much exposure to UV radiation causes skin cancer and damages plants. Ozone naturally concentrates in the stratosphere, 10-15 miles above the earth’s surface, well away from the surface.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has a brochure “Ozone: Good Up High, Bad Nearby” that explains this apparent contradiction in more detail at http://www.epa.gov/oar/oaqps/gooduphigh/.

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