HOUSTON -

A new groundbreaking website helps Houston residents get up-to-the-minute air quality information.

The University of Houston, Air Alliance Houston, and the American Lung Association, Plains-Gulf Region announced the launch of the Houston Clean Air Network website, www.houstoncleanairnetwork.com.

The Houston Clean Air Network website features the first real-time ozone map designed to reach a wide range of users at a local level.

Currently, residents can check ozone values through various government agencies, but the data available is not real-time and is usually behind by 1.5 hours. Ozone values can change quickly, so current data may not reflect actual exposure levels.

"This sort of a resource has been a dream of local public health and environmental experts for many, many years," said Air Alliance Houston's executive director, Matthew Tejada. "The only way a person can protect their lungs from ozone is to not expose your lungs to ozone, and now we finally have a resource that allows people in the Houston area to do exactly that."

The site also provides a unique visual representation of how the real-time ozone levels are moving throughout the Houston area. It is displayed much like a weather map.

Air Alliance Houston hopes this site will be a daily tool for the thousands of people in the Houston area who suffer from a respiratory disease, as well as a learning tool for teachers, students, parents, and children to understand how air quality affects their health.