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Ozone Monitors continuously measures the concentration of ozone
in the air. Air drawn into the instrument is divided into two
paths, one of which has a scrubber that removes all the ozone
from the air stream. Abeam of ultraviolet light is passed
through both air streams and the difference in the amount of
light that is absorbed by the two streams is proportional to the
ozone concentration. This ability to absorb ultraviolet light is
why ozone in the upper atmosphere protects us from excessive
ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Ground-level ozone, formed
from photochemical reactions involving oxides of nitrogen and
reactive organic compounds, is linked to respiratory injury and
increased incidence of asthma attacks.

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[Summary provided by Rutgers University]