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Ozone flares with fireworks festivities

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11:10am, June 27, 2001

Besides decorating the night skies this Fourth of July, fireworks across the United States will pollute them with ozone, according to a new study.

Ozone, or O3, plays a protective role in the upper atmosphere, where it's produced naturally by ultraviolet (UV) radiation striking other oxygen molecules (O2 ). Near the ground, ozone is a pollutant that irritates eyes and makes breathing difficult. Its formation there generally requires sunlight and nitrogen oxides.

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