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  • Strong winds, increased particulates prompt Air Pollution Watch

    May 11, 2018 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) is issuing an air pollution watch for elevated levels of particulate matter in Pima County. High winds and lack of rain could cause particulate matter to approach “Unhealthy Levels for Sensitive Individuals” later today, especially in dust-prone areas. Residual wind-blown particulates may remain in the air on Saturday.
    Individuals with heart disease and respiratory disease, children, older adults and active individuals who are outside should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion to decrease the amount of particulates they breathe into their lungs. Small particles can travel into the respiratory system and cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. If they are in dust-prone areas, those most at risk may feel better if they avoid outside exercise and keep windows and doors closed to help reduce exposure to particulate matter.
    Particulate matter is made up of tiny specks of soot, dust, and aerosols that are suspended in the air we breathe. Particulate matter can come from disturbed land, dirt roads, construction and mining activity and becomes airborne with high winds. Small particulate matter can also come from combustion sources such as cars, industry, and indoor and outdoor fires.
    PDEQ encourages residents and businesses to limit activities that generate dust such as using leaf blowers, driving on dirt roads, using off-road vehicles, and wood-burning. To improve air quality PDEQ recommends driving as little as possible, sharing rides, using public transit and avoiding engine idling.
    PDEQ monitors air pollution in our region at 16 air quality monitoring sites in eastern Pima County. Up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available in the air monitoring section of the PDEQ website. Individuals can sign up to receive Air Quality Advisories and other Pima County Department of Environmental Quality notices via email. In addition, individuals can sign up to receive the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality provides 5-Day Air Quality Forecasts for Pima County.