The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is issuing a dust High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Thursday, November 30, 2017, for coarse particulate matter (PM-10) in Maricopa County. This HPA is due to particle pollutant levels expected to accumulate enough to exceed the federal health standard for PM-10.
People with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are most likely to be affected by particle pollution. PM-10 particles are so small they are able to travel into the respiratory tract where they can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to these particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.
ADEQ recommends that the general public limit outdoor activity while the HPA is in effect, especially children and adults with respiratory problems.
During this HPA, ADEQ and Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) encourage residents and businesses to use these tips and resources to help make the air healthier to breathe:
- Avoid activities that generate dust, such as driving on dirt roads and using off-road vehicles
- Avoid using leaf blowers
- Drive as little as possible, carpool, use public transit or telecommute
- Avoid or limit wood burning in residential fireplaces, chimineas, outdoor fire pits and similar outdoor fires (including at hotels and restaurants and individuals/businesses that have permits for open burning)
ADEQ and MCAQD also urge businesses conducting dust-generating operations to be vigilant in their dust control measures.
- 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.
- 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: PM10, commonly called dust, and PM2.5, commonly called soot. PM10 refers to dust particles 10 microns or less and PM2.5 to soot particles 2.5 microns or less. For perspective, one strand of human hair is 70-100 microns in size.