December 28, 2011 [MARICOPA COUNTY] - Maricopa County’s air quality failed to meet health standards on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The culprit appears to be the result of woodburning activity in the Valley. Air monitoring data shows fine particulate levels spiked on December 24 and 25, 2011.
The Air Quality Department issued No Burn Day, woodburning, restrictions based on the air quality forecast and rising fine particulate pollution levels. The purpose of the No Burn Day is to avoid adding pollution to our air when the forecast suggests air quality will approach or exceed the federal health standard.
Air monitoring data shows the 24-hour average of fine particulate pollution reached 67µg/m³ on Christmas Day; well above the federal health standard of 35 µg/m³.
The department received more than 85 calls and air quality complaints during this weekend’s restriction period. As a result, advisory notices will be sent to residents across the Valley detailing woodburning restrictions and resident responsibilities.
Health impacts from fine particulate pollution are significant. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including:
· increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing;
· decreased lung function;
· aggravated asthma;
· development of chronic bronchitis;
· irregular heartbeat;
· nonfatal heart attacks; and
· premature death of people with heart or lung disease.
The solution is within our control. Please keep your woodburning fireplace or fire pit dark on a No Burn Day.
Call or visit our website to find out if No Burn Day restrictions are in effect:
· Log on to www.CleanAirMakeMore.com. The home page will show you if any restrictions are in place at the top right side of the page in the Clean Air Make More Desktop Widget.
· Sign up to receive email alerts or text messages when a No Burn Day is issued. Visit www.CleanAirMakeMore.com and click “Make the Commitment.”
· Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/cleanairmakemor or Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CleanAirMakeMore
· Not by a computer? Call the Maricopa County Burn Line at (602) 506-6400 for a recorded message in English and Spanish.
Woodburning restrictions are governed by the following Maricopa County Rules:
Maricopa County Ordinance P-26: Residential Woodburning Restriction http://www.maricopa.gov/aq/divisions/planning_analysis/rules/docs/P26-0803.pdf
Rule 314: Open Outdoor Fires and Indoor Fireplaces at Commercial and Institutional Establishments http://www.maricopa.gov/aq/divisions/planning_analysis/rules/docs/314-0803.pdf
PARTICULATE MATTER BACKGROUND: State and county agencies measure PM-10 and PM-2.5 which are extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets found circulating in the air. PM, or particulate matter, comes from either combustion (cars, industry, woodburning) or dust stirred up into the air. High levels of PM are typically created when the air is especially stagnant or especially windy.
PM-10 stands for particulate matter measuring 10 microns or less. PM-2.5 stands for particulate matter measuring 2.5 microns or less. To put this in perspective, one strand of human hair is 70-100 microns in size.