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Ozone is a chemical in our atmosphere with a dual nature: at high altitudes it benefits us by blocking harmful UV radiation; at ground level it is a harmful pollutant. Ozone is not emitted directly, but forms from reactions between other air pollutants in the presence of sunlight. This ground-level ozone can irritate the lungs causing difficulty breathing, especially for people with asthma or other lung diseases. At high concentrations, ozone can damage rubber, plastics and paint, as well as vegetation.