PIMA COUNTY, July 28, 2023 – The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) is issuing a ground-level Ozone Action Day for the Tucson metropolitan area today. Individuals who are especially sensitive to ozone air pollution may experience shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, wheezing, and breathing discomfort.
If you are especially sensitive to ozone, you may want to limit your level of exertion outside between noon and 6 p.m. when elevated levels of ozone pollution are more likely to occur. Intense physical outdoor activity causes heavier breathing, which allows ozone to penetrate deeper in the lungs.
Those who are most likely to be 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 pollutant. Those people who are feeling symptoms should seek medical attention, if necessary.
There are many types of emissions that generate ground-level ozone. Motor vehicle exhaust, industrial and power plant emissions, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents, as well as natural sources, emit oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that form ozone in the presence of intense sunlight and heat.
Actions to reduce the production of ground level ozone:
- Reduce driving - combine errands into one trip.
- Ride the bus, walk, bike, or share a ride with friends and family.
- Avoid idling your vehicle’s engine.
- Re-fuel your car after dark or during cooler evening hours when vapors are less likely to form ozone.
- While re-fueling, always stop at the click.
- Make sure your gas cap is tightly sealed after re-fueling.
- Avoid using gas-powered lawn and gardening equipment.
- Check your tire pressure monthly and keep tires properly inflated for peak performance.
- Conserve electricity to reduce emissions from power plants.
- Use low-VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes, and paint strippers and ensure that they are sealed properly.
PDEQ’s Clean Air Program educates Pima County residents about the potential health effects associated with elevated levels of air pollution and promotes actions to reduce air pollution.
PDEQ monitors air pollution in our region at 16 air quality monitoring sites. Real-time air pollution levels are available online at the PDEQ website.
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