||Science Applications International Corp., McLean, VA. ;Eastern Research Group, Inc., Lexington, MA.;Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.
In 1976, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a uniform air quality index, called the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI), to provide the public with timely and accurate information about air quality and associated health effects. The PSI serves as the basis for various outreach tools to help members of the public understand when local concentrations of ground-level ozone pose a health concern and what actions they can take to protect their health. Three key components of this public outreach include the Ozone Map, cautionary statements about ozone, and a booklet that provides information on the health effects of ozone. The map provides the general public with timely information about local ozone concentrations. The cautionary statements and ozone health effects booklet provide information about precautions that sensitive groups and the general public can take to protect their health from ozone exposure. Working through a contractor, EPA's Office of Research and Development/National Center for Environmental Assessment (ORD/NCEA) commissioned eight focus groups held in August, September, and October 1998 in eight cities across the United States to determine how effectively the Ozone Map, the cautionary statements, and the ozone health effects booklet communicate ozonerelated information to the general public and targeted audiences. This report documents the results of these focus groups.