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Fourth echelon

Study: China exporting ozone to the United States

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PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 11 (UPI) -- One of the things about gas and pollution is that they don't stay put. Sure, cities and regions that pollute the most tend to be the most polluted, but just as often, smog and smoke find their way atop less suspecting locales.

One of the unsuspecting recipients of China's excess ozone is the western United States. A new study by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory suggests China's pollution is threatening to undermine the progress California and its neighbors have made in reducing ozone levels over the last decade.

Ozone, or O3, is one of the most abrasive components of smog, the long-hanging pollution that occasionally forces Los Angeles residents to stay indoors.

Ozone itself is not directly emitted; it's a secondary pollutant, the byproduct of chemical reactions in the lower atmosphere involving manmade pollutants like nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and other volatile organic compounds. Once formed, ozone hangs around in the atmosphere for several weeks. It can have a greenhouse gas effect, boosting temperatures, as well as causing respiratory and other health problems.


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