Simple Steps. Better Air.

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By The Regional Air Quality Council

This summer, join your neighbors in taking simple steps for better air

Join the thousands of Denver area residents who are taking simple steps to improve their community’s air quality and help their neighbors breathe easier!

Ground-level ozone impacts our health and environment in the Colorado Front Range each summer. This pollutant we can’t see or smell accumulates the most on hot and sunny blue-sky days, when the air appears clear. 

How can that be? Ozone is simply three oxygen atoms stuck together (O3). High up in the atmosphere, ozone serves an important purpose: it protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. But at ground level, high concentrations of ozone are unhealthy: making it difficult to breathe, increasing our susceptibility to respiratory infections, and exacerbating ailments such as asthma. People most impacted by this air pollution are the elderly, those with respiratory conditions, outdoor workers, outdoor athletes, and especially children, whose lungs are still developing.

Where does this pollution come from? Ground-level ozone forms when two chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), react in the sunshine and heat of beautiful Colorado summer days. These emissions come mainly from our gas-powered vehicles, gas-powered lawn equipment, and oil and gas production. 

Both colorless and odorless, ozone is different than wildfire smoke, tiny particulate matter called PM2.5, or the infamous “brown cloud” from decades past. Yet while we cannot see it or smell it, we still have the power to reduce ground-level ozone in the Front Range each and every day. 

First, sign up for ozone alerts. Visit to sign up for emails and/or text “BetterAirCO” to 21000 to receive air quality alerts on your phone. When a high ozone day is anticipated within the next day, the Regional Air Quality Council will send you a text or email to let you know. Protect your health by avoiding outdoor exercise or heavy exertion between noon and 8 p.m. on Ozone Action Day Alert days.

Second, reduce your emissions! Take some Simple Steps for Better Air: Skip two car trips per week by carpooling, combining errands, taking the bus or the light rail to get where you need to go. For shorter distances, consider walking, taking a scooter, or your (e)bike. Roll down the windows and turn the engine off while waiting in parking lots or lines, instead of idling. Work remotely or locally to skip the commute, upgrade your gas lawn mower to electric with a 30% state discount at participating retailers, or upgrade to a high MPG, plug-in hybrid, or electric vehicle.

Visit for more information about how to reduce your ozone impact this summer and help your Colorado community breathe easier.

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