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  • High Pollution Advisory Issued for Pima County

    Aug 26, 2020 | Read More News
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    Pima County, Ariz. – Aug. 26, 2020 – The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) Clean Air Program has issued a High Pollution Advisory for August 26, 2020, due to anticipated elevated levels of ground-level ozone air pollution in the Tucson metropolitan area. There is also potential for elevated levels of particulates from wildfires. Pima County exceeded the federal health standard for ozone yesterday, making it the seventh exceedance day since May 5, 2020.High Pollution Advisory

    Wildfire smoke from California and Colorado is caught in a high pressure system over the four corners area and is providing an abundance of precursors for the formation of ozone and excessive haze across western states. It is possible that by the weekend, ozone levels may begin to drop if winds pick up and help ventilate smoke away from the area. 

    Children, older adults, and those with respiratory and heart disease tend to be more sensitive to ozone and particulate air pollution and may experience shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, wheezing, and breathing discomfort.

    People who are active outdoors are also at risk as faster and deeper breathing can allow ozone and particulates to penetrate into parts of the lungs that are more susceptible to injury.

    To protect their health, individuals may want to limit outside exertion, especially in the afternoon when elevated levels of ozone pollution are more likely to occur. Individuals who are feeling symptoms should seek medical attention, if necessary.

    Wildfire smoke, vehicle exhaust, industrial and power plant emissions, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents and natural sources provide precursors that combine in the presence of intense sunlight to create ozone. We can all help by taking controllable actions that reduce emissions, such as:
    •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 at 14 locations in eastern Pima County. Up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available on the PDEQ website air monitoring section. 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; beth.gorman@pima.gov; (520 )724-7446