Elevated ozone levels predicted in east Arkansas and neighboring states

Source: National Weather Service

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Higher-than-normal ozone levels could cause health problems for some residents in west Tennessee, east Arkansas and north Mississippi on Thursday, officials said.

According to the National Weather Service in Memphis, health officials have issued a “code orange” ozone forecast for Shelby County, Tennessee; Crittenden County, Arkansas; and DeSoto County, Mississippi.

Ozone values in the three Mid-South counties will exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency`s federal safe health standard, the Shelby County Health Department said.

The EPA says ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant and is usually caused by pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants and other sources.

Ozone is most likely to reach unhealthy levels on hot, sunny days in cities, the EPA said on its website.

Groups that could be sensitive to the ozone levels are active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma. They should limit prolonged outdoor exertion, officials said.