The Post staff, and Stephen Lynton in particular, are to be complimented on an informative and scientifically accurate article on ozone air pollution in the Washington area {Metro, June 29}. As was pointed out, ozone concentrations are frequently in violation of the ambient air quality standard, and this could mean the loss of federal money for highways.

I would like to suggest a way in which the Washington area might more readily comply with the Clean Air Act and, more to the point, help ensure a safer environment. As mentioned in Mr. Lynton's article, both hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen are required to produce ozone, but oxides of nitrogen are not measured in automobile exhaust tests. Testing automobile exhaust for nitrogen oxides is even more time-consuming and troublesome than the current carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon measurements, but it is possible; cars in West Germany are monitored routinely.

Alternatively, the state of Colorado is currently testing an automobile air-pollution detector that works remotely, like police radar. The device will sit on the side of the road and identify the 10 percent of all cars that produce 50 percent of the pollution. Tests are thus performed under real driving conditions and on the cars most frequently driven. The Washington area would benefit greatly from such testing for nitrogen oxides.

RUSSELL DICKERSON Associate Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry The University of Maryland College Park