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Ozone warning flags fly

A Charlotte clean-air group wants local schools and government buildings to fly color-coded warning flags when breath-stifling ozone soars.

Two children who suffer from asthma raised a Code Yellow flag this morning at the Mecklenburg County Health Department, which has agreed to hoist the flags daily. Ozone, an irritating gas formed from motor vehicle exhaust, can worsen asthma in children.

The Carolinas Clean Air Coalition hopes more than two dozen schools, other government buildings and YMCAs will also agree to fly the flags. The campaign began last year with 11 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools.

The flags will reflect the daily ozone forecasts that the N.C. Division of Air Quality issues in spring and summer. They range from yellow, signaling moderate conditions, to orange, red and purple in a rising scale of potential health effects.