SAN MARTÍN DE UNX, 19/06/2022.-Vista de los trabajos de bomberos y vecinos para extinguir el fuego en la localidad de San Martín de Unx, este domingo.- EFE / Villar López | Villar Lopez

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Air pollution is spiking across Britain, France, and southern Europe amid record-breaking temperatures and scorching wildfires.

Scientists with the EU Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) warned today of unhealthy levels of ozone pollution across southern and western Europe which could soon affect northwestern regions.

The World Health Organization has set an eight-hour surface-level ozone exposure limit of 100 micrograms per cubic meter. Southeast England, northern France, and the Benelux region are all currently seeing daily concentrations greater than 120 micrograms.

"The air quality impacts are not negligible in relation to this heatwave," said Mark Parrington, senior scientist with CAMS.

Ozone pollution forms when heat and sunlight interact with greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds released during the burning of fossil fuels.

Ozone production accelerates during a heatwave, Parrington said, as these chemical reactions happen faster.