The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Pima County of Environmental Quality are issuing a Health Watch for ozone effective Aug. 7 and 8 in the Tucson area. ADEQ recommends that people limit outdoor activity while the HW is in effect, especially children and adults with respiratory problems.
Ground level ozone forms when two types of pollutants—volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides —react in sunlight. These pollutants come primarily from automobiles, but also from other sources including industries, power plants and products, such as solvents and paints. Generally, the highest levels of ozone occur in the afternoon.
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People most vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution include children, older adults, adults exercising outdoors, people with heart or lung disease and those suffering from asthma and bronchitis. Exposure can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks, cause or aggravate bronchitis or other lung disease and reduce the body’s ability to fight infection. Symptoms may include itchy eyes, nose, and throat, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain and upper respiratory issues.
Help reduce ozone by doing one or more of the following:
- Drive as little as possible, carpool, use public transit or telecommute
- Re-fuel your vehicle in the evening
- Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines, for example, at coffee shops, fast-food restaurants or banks – park your car and go inside
- Use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers – 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