The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is issuing ozone High Pollution Advisories (HPAs) for Maricopa County, effective this weekend, Sat. and Sun., May 20 - 21, 2017. These HPAs are due to ozone levels expected to accumulate enough to exceed the federal health standard for ozone.
People most affected by ozone include children, senior citizens, people who work or exercise outdoors and people with pre-existing respiratory disease. Ozone can irritate the respiratory system, aggravate asthma and reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off respiratory infections. Ozone-related health problems include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, headaches, nausea, and throat and lung irritation.
Employers and Travel Reduction Program Transportation Coordinators are advised to activate their HPA Plans immediately. ADEQ further recommends that the general public limit outdoor activity while the HPA is in effect, especially children and adults with respiratory problems.
Each and every one of us can make a difference in continuing to improve the quality of the air we breathe through simple actions. ADEQ, MCAQD and Valley Metro recommend residents and businesses use the following tips and resources to reduce ozone pollution and make the air healthier to breathe:
- Drive as little as possible, carpool, use public transit or telecommute
- Re-fuel your vehicle after dark
- Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines, for example, at coffee shops, fast-food restaurants or banks – park your car and go inside
- Visit valleymetro.org and ShareTheRide.com to plan a transit trip or find a carpool or vanpool
- Use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers and delay big painting projects
- Make sure containers of household cleaners, garage and yard chemicals and other solvents are sealed properly to prevent vapors from evaporating into the air
- Visit cleanairmakemore.com to learn more about reducing air pollution
While the new, more stringent federal health standard for ozone triggers more frequent Health Watches and HPAs, the fact is that over the past two decades, Arizona has achieved significant improvements in our overall air quality and more specifically, lower ozone levels.
- High Pollution Advisory (HPA): Notifies the public that the level of an air pollutant is expected to exceed the federal health standard
- Health Watch: Notifies the public that the level of an air pollutant is expected to approach the federal health standard
- Ozone: Ground level ozone is formed by a chemical reaction among sunlight, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and VOCs