Ozone around Tibet poses danger to mountaineers.

Mt EverestNot only is the air around the Tibetan plateau thin but it's also thick with ozone, posing a medical danger to mountaineers, says a new study by researcher at the University of Toronto.

The ring of ozone around the plateau, which rises 4,000 metres above sea level and includes such famous peaks as Mount Everest and K2, is as concentrated as the ozone found in heavily polluted cities -- and may put climbers at risk, a university release said.

These findings are published in a recent issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

"Around the circumference of Tibet, there's a halo of very high levels of ozone," said GW Kent Moore of the university and lead author of the study.

Ozone is a highly reactive gas that can cause coughing, chest pain and damage to the lining of the lungs.

Study co-author John Semple was initially interested in how weather changes at high altitude can have a medical impact on climbers. Along with Moore, he examined earlier data and found several studies that alluded to higher ozone levels.

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