The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued ozone High Pollution Advisories for Maricopa County, effective Tuesday, April 11, and Wednesday, April 12.
These HPAs are due to ozone levels expected to accumulate enough to exceed the federal health standard for ozone, according to a press release.
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, according to the release.
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. A
DEQ further recommends that the general public limit outdoor activity while the HPA is in effect, especially children and adults with respiratory problems.
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
The new, more stringent federal health standard for ozone triggers more frequent health watches and HPAs. However, 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, according to the release.
Citizens can make a difference in continuing to improve the quality of the air they breathe through simple actions that follow:
- High Pollution Advisory: 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 and VOCs
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality provides a daily forecast for air quality and issues HPAs or Health Watches when these conditions exist. Visit azdeq.gov/environ/air/ozone/ensemble.pdf or call 602-771-2367 for tomorrow’s forecast or SUBSCRIBE to receive air quality forecasts via email and/or text message.
The Maricopa County Air Quality Department is a regulatory agency whose goal is to ensure federal clean air standards are achieved and maintained for the residents and visitors of Maricopa County. The department is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and follows air quality standards set forth by the federal Clean Air Act. The department offers air quality information and resources on its Clean Air Make More website: cleanairmakemore.com.