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  • Air Quality Health Watch Issued for Pima County

    Aug 21, 2020 | Read More News
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    Pima County, Ariz - (August 21, 2020) The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) Clean Air Program is issuing a Health Watch for August 21, 2020, due to increasing levels of ground-level ozone air pollution in the Tucson metropolitan area.

    People who are sensitive to air pollution may experience shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, wheezing, and breathing discomfort. If sensitive to ozone, individuals may want to limit outside exertion in the afternoon when elevated levels of ozone pollution are more likely to occur. Intense outdoor physical activity causes faster and deeper breathing, which allows ozone to penetrate into parts of the lungs more likely to be injured.

    Those who tend to be more sensitive to ozone include children, adults who are active outdoors, people with respiratory diseases, and certain individuals who have an unusual sensitivity to this particular air pollutant. Individuals who are feeling symptoms should seek medical attention, if necessary.

    A variety of emissions contributes to the creation of ground-level ozone. Motor vehicle exhaust, industrial and power plant emissions, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents and natural sources such as wildfires and some vegetation, emit oxides of nitrogen and/or volatile organic compounds that form ozone after a photo-chemical reaction occurs with intense sunlight.

    We can take the following actions to reduce the emissions that contribute to ground level ozone:
    • Reduce driving - combine errands into one trip, ride the bus, bike, walk or share rides
    • Avoid idling your vehicle’s engine. Refrain from long drive-thru lines - park and go inside instead
    • Re-fuel your car after 6 p.m. when fumes are less likely to form ozone
    • While re-fueling, always stop at the click to avoid spills and overfilling gas tank
    • Make sure your gas cap is tightly sealed after re-fueling
    • Check your tire pressure monthly to reduce gasoline use and associated air pollution
    • Use low VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers
    • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and gardening equipment
    • Conserve electricity to reduce emissions from power plants
    PDEQ monitors air pollution in our region at 14 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 Arizona Department of Environmental Quality 5-Day Air Quality Forecasts for Pima County.

    Contact: Beth Gorman (520) 724-7446; beth.gorman@pima.gov