Health watch and high pollution advisory issued for this weekend in Maricopa County

December 21, 2018 - 9:55 am

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is issuing the following air quality alerts for Maricopa County:

•           Health Watch for December 22, 2018

•           High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for December 23, 2018

These alerts are for fine particulate matter (PM-2.5). PM-2.5 is made up of small particles (soot) found in smoke. ADEQ recommends that people limit outdoor activity while the HPA is in effect, especially children and adults with respiratory problems.

During an HPA, Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) has declared a “No Burn Day”. Wood burning in residential fireplaces, chimineas, outdoor fire pits and similar outdoor fires is not permitted.

Burn cleaner, burn better with gas or electric instead of wood. Get help switching over with:

Health Impacts

People most vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution include children, older adults, adults exercising outdoors and people with heart or lung disease and those suffering from asthma and bronchitis. Exposure can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks, cause or aggravate bronchitis or other lung disease and reduce the body’s ability to fight infection. Symptoms may include itchy eyes, nose, and throat, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain and upper respiratory issues. Long-term exposure is linked to premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat and decreased lung function.

Please help reduce PM-2.5 by doing one or more of the following:

•           Use gas or electric instead of burning wood

•           Limit the lighting of fireworks

•           Ride transit, carpool or telework

•           Eliminate all unnecessary driving and/or combine trips

•           If burning wood for heat or food preparation, use dry wood (burning wet wood releases more particulate matter)

Employers and Travel Reduction Program Transportation Coordinators should activate their HPA Plans immediately.

High Pollution Advisory (HPA): Notifies the public that the level of an air pollutant is forecast to exceed the federal health standard.

Health Watch: Notifies the public that the level of an air pollutant is forecast to approach the federal health standard.

Particulate Matter: State and county agencies measure levels of particulate matter (PM) in the air. PM is extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets that circulate in air. PM comes from combustion (cars, industry, wood burning) or dust stirred up into the air. High levels of PM occur when air is especially stagnant or windy. Two types of PM are measured: PM-10, commonly called dust, and PM-2.5, commonly called soot or smoke. PM-10 is 10 microns or less in size and PM-2.5 is 2.5 microns or less in size. For perspective, one strand of human hair is 70-100 microns in size.