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EPA Administrator Whitman Launches New Educational Web Site on Ground Level Ozone

Release Date: 09/20/2002
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(#02099) New York, N.Y. -- Christie Whitman, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, today introduced a new Web site to teach students in grades six through nine about ozone and how it contributes to air pollution. Air Pollution: What’s the Solution? was developed through a collaborative effort involving EPA, Northeast States Coordinated for Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and the Stevens Institute of Technology’s Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education. With EPA funding, NESCAUM and Stevens developed this science-centered, interactive Web site with lessons that teachers can adapt to their classroom programming. Air Pollution: What’s the Solution? covers what ozone is, how it forms, the influence of weather conditions and other factors, EPA’s Air Quality Index, and the effects ozone can have on human health.

“This internet-based program will help teachers who are looking for an engaging set of lessons on air pollution,” said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. “Today I worked with students who took the same data used by scientists and did their own analysis of how weather conditions contributed to unhealthy ozone levels on a specific day. What better way to learn science than to do it yourself!”

Accessed through EPA’s popular EPA AirNOW Web site, the teaching unit has six core lessons and four enrichment activities that correlate with state and national education standards. In addition to using real-time and archived data, the lessons use interactive computer simulations and activities that teach important math, science, communication, and critical thinking skills. The Web site is:

Ground level ozone, commonly called smog, is a colorless gas present in the air we breathe. Elevated levels can irritate the lungs and cause breathing problems, especially for people with asthma and other respiratory problems. It is a significant factor in EPA’s Air Quality Index, which recommends an appropriate level of activity for adults, children and those with impaired breathing function based on pollution levels on a given day.