Ozone Season Begins April 1
Ozone pollution is granted a summertime status due to its need for interaction with heat and sunlight. Ground level ozone forms when emissions from fossil-fuel fired equipment, industrial and chemical processes, and even household activities react with heat from the sun.
March 29, 2012 [MARICOPA COUNTY] - The Valley enters its official ozone season on April 1, and does not conclude its watch for the ground level pollutant until the end of September. The pollutant is making an early season debut as air quality forecasters issued an ozone health watch Thursday.
The year 2011 was shaping up to be a clean year for the region’s air quality, but Mother Nature had other plans. Twenty-three days had exceedances of the federal ozone health standard and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued 11 high-pollution advisories and 29 health watches for ozone during 2011.
“Ozone pollution is a very real concern that can easily be reduced through small, every day actions, but everyone must take part,” explains Maricopa County Air Quality Department Director Bill Wiley. “Choosing to refuel after dark, avoiding drive-thru lines or even switching to CFL bulbs, can reduce ozone concentrations.”
Ground level ozone pollution is a direct threat to your lungs and can trigger asthma. Children are at the greatest risk from ozone because their lungs are still developing, they are most likely to be active outdoors, and they are more likely than adults to have asthma. Adults with asthma or other lung diseases, and older adults are also sensitive to ozone.
Ozone pollution prevention tips:
· Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines, for example, at coffee shops, fast-food restaurants or banks. Park your car and go inside.
· Refuel your vehicle after dark or during cooler evening hours.
· Drive less. When possible, carpool, van pool or use public transportation.
· Use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers
· Delay big painting projects until high-pollution advisories or health watches have passed.
· Make sure containers of household cleaners, garage and yard chemicals and other solvents are sealed properly to prevent vapors from evaporating into the air.
· Conserve electricity.
Sign up to receive air quality updates by email or text message at www.CleanAirMakeMore.com. To track how much pollution your commute generates, or find a carpool partner to plan a transit trip, visit www.ValleyMetro.org and select ShareTheRide.
OZONE BACKGROUND: Ground level ozone is formed by a chemical reaction that needs heat from sunlight, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds [VOCs] to form. The months of April through September make up the Valley’s longer-than-normal “ozone season.”
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality [ADEQ] provides a daily forecast for air quality. When conditions exist, ADEQ will issue high pollution advisories or health watches. Please visit www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/ozone/ensemble.pdf or call (602) 771-2367. To receive the air quality forecast via email and/or text message please visit www.azdeq.gov/subscribe.html
CONTACT: Mark Shaffer – (602) 771-2215 desk / (480) 433-9551 cell
The Maricopa County Air Quality Department is a regulatory agency whose goal is to ensure federal clean air standards are achieved and maintained for the residents and visitors of Maricopa County. The department is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and follows air quality standards set forth by the federal Clean Air Act. The department offers air quality information and resources on its Clean Air Make More website. Please visit www.CleanAirMakeMore.com to learn more.
CONTACT: Holly Ward – (602) 506-6713 desk / (602) 526-7307 cell
Valley Metro/RPTA provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents in Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, online carpool and vanpool matching, bus trip mapping, and bicycle and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local, state and federal revenues; and administered by a board of 16 governments working to improve and regionalize the public transit system. Please visit www.ValleyMetro.org to learn more.
CONTACT: Susan Tierney – (602) 523-6004 desk / (602) 292-4093 cell