Jun 19, 2020
An Ozone Action Day has been declared for today, June 19th. An Ozone Action Day is observed at certain times during the summer months, when weather conditions (such as heat, humidity, and air stagnation) run the risk of causing health problems, specifically with ground-level ozone.
Ground-level ozone can be a health hazard when people breathe it. It is formed through a complex set of chemical reactions involving hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and sunlight on calm summer days where the weather may also be warm and humid. High levels of ground ozone affect the breathing process and aggravate asthma in chronic sufferers. The young, elderly, and those with lung diseases are especially susceptible.
How to protect yourself on High Ground Level Ozone Days
On days with an AQI greater than 100, you can take several steps to reduce your exposure to ground-level ozone.
Avoid prolonged exertion outdoors- any activity that will cause you to be outdoors for several hours where you are breathing harder than normal
Avoid heavy exertion outdoors- any activity that causes you to breathe heavily. For example- go on a walk instead of a run.
Basic steps in limiting ground ozone during Ozone Action Days are:
Controlling of auto emissions:
- Eliminate excessive engine idling
- Avoid rush hour when slowdowns on roads are most common
- Park and go inside instead of drive-thru lines at school, fast-food restaurants, and pharmacies
- Ensure the vehicle is functioning properly
- This includes maintaining the exhaust system, proper air pressure in tires, and oil changes
- Avoid unnecessary driving by combining trips and carpooling
- Refuel after 6:00 pm (or after dusk)
- Do not ‘top off’; stop fueling once the nozzle has stopped the first time
- Take public transportation (some cities provide free or discounted public transportation on Ozone Action Days).
- Bring lunch to work or walk to lunch
- Walk or ride a bicycle
- Work from home
At home reduction activities include:
- Limit the use of lawnmowers and outdoor grills to after 6:00 pm, or even better, utilize push mowers, manual racks, and brooms
- Limit the use of aerosol cans around the home (for example, hair gel instead of hair spray)
- Dispose of the aerosol can properly
- Conserve energy
- Turn home air conditioning thermostat up to at least 78 as the EPA recommends
- Utilize fans, turn the thermostat up when not at home, close blinds to reduce sun penetration
- Turn off or unplug electrical devices when not in use- computers especially can heat up rooms
- Install LED lights that utilize less energy.