By BOBBY HORN JR.
CROSBY How dangerous is the air quality in Crosby? Now with the click of a mouse, residents can find out the exact levels of ozone in their community thanks to a new air monitoring site installed by the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Education Services Pollution Control Division.
The new equipment, which is a less sophisticated system than those found in Baytown or Highlands, is located adjacent to the Crosby Library. The monitor is part of a countywide system of monitoring site which measure levels of ozone as well as airborne pollutants, radiation, wind levels and temperature. The Crosby location, however only measures ozone, while the Highlands site, on Wallisville Road, road measures nitrogen oxide emissions, ozone, wind speed and temperature among its features.
According to a spokesperson for the countys pollution control division, ground level ozone is the air pollutant of greatest concern to area residents. Ozone is an odorless gas which forms through a chemical reaction between nitrous oxide and some volatile organic compounds.
Exposure to high levels of ozone can cause or worsen various respiratory symptoms. The include symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing head aches, nausea and throat and lung irritation, said Shirley Norris with County Judge Robert Eckels office.
Eckels office has created a system by which residents can receive e-mail alerts when the ozone level gets too high. To subscribe for these alerts. which also give warnings about ozone watches issued by the county, go to www.hcoem.org and select Subscribe to Ozone Alerts.
Norris said that this information is especially useful for parents, athletic coaches, school nurses. health care professionals and individuals with respiratory illnesses.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also monitors stations such as the one in Crosby and reports its findings on an hour to hour basis. These results can be found by going to the state agencys website at tceq.state.tx.us and selected air under the subject index.
By BOBBY HORN JR.