The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is issuing an Ozone High Pollution Advisory (HPA) and PM-10 Health Watch in Maricopa County, effective Thursday, August 9, 2018. This HPA and health watch is due to pollution levels expected to exceed the federal health standard for ozone and approach the federal health standard for particle pollutants.
During this HPA, the following mandatory restrictions are in effect in Maricopa County:
- Use of leaf blowers on governmental properties
- 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)
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. 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.
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.
ADEQ, Maricopa County Air Quality Department (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.
- Stabilize loose soil or dirt.
- Maintain your landscape. Cover loose dirt with vegetation or gravel.
- Avoid activities that generate dust, such as driving on dirt roads.
- Visit 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. Each and every one of us can make a difference in continuing to improve the quality of the air we breathe through simple actions that follow.
Ozone: Ground level ozone is formed by a chemical reaction among sunlight, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and VOCs
PM-10: Particulate matter measuring 10 microns or less. State and county agencies measure PM-10 and PM-2.5 which are extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets found circulating in the air. PM, or particulate matter, comes from either combustion (cars, industry, woodburning) or dust stirred up into the air. High levels of PM are typically created when the air is especially stagnant.
Health Watch: The highest concentration of pollution may approach the federal health standard. Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion during a health watch.
High Pollution Advisory or HPA: The highest concentration of pollution may exceed the federal health standard. Active children, adults and people with lung disease such as asthma should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. Maricopa County employers enlisted in the Travel Reduction Program are asked to activate their HPA plans on high pollution advisory days.
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The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) provides a daily forecast for air quality and issues HPAs or Health Watches when these conditions exist. Please 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.
CONTACT: CONTACT: Erin Jordan – 602-771-2215 desk/602-540-8072 cell
The Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) 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.
CONTACT: Bob Huhn – (602) 506-6713 desk/(602) 526-7307 cell
Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, online carpool matching and bus trip mapping, and bicycle and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local, state and federal revenues; and administered by a board of 16 governments working to improve and regionalize the public transit system. Please visit Valleymetro.org to learn more.
CONTACT: Corinne Holliday – (602) 322-4492 desk/(623) 293-0335 cell