News Flash

Air Quality

Posted on: April 2, 2018

Maricopa County Air Quality Department's Ozone Campaign Kicks Off

Ozone Campaign Press Release

PHOENIX (April 2, 2018) – Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) announced the start of its annual Ozone Campaign, encouraging county residents to help reduce the harmful pollutant during the spring and summer months.

The Ozone Campaign runs from April 2 through the end of September.

Ground-level ozone forms when emissions from vehicles, gasoline and diesel equipment, industrial and chemical processes and other everyday activities react to sunlight. Naturally, ozone pollution is more prevalent during the spring and summer months because these emissions – volatile organic compounds (VOCs, solvents and fuels) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) react more readily in higher temperatures.

Ground-level ozone pollution is harmful to 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.

Although some people are more sensitive than others, all county residents can be affected by ground-level ozone. For this reason, MCAQD is urging residents to Commit to One Day and Help Keep Ozone Away.

“Because ozone is odorless and colorless, residents may not be aware of its harmful health impacts. The health threat from ozone should motivate each of us to take action,” MCAQD Director Philip McNeely said. “By making simple changes at least one day a week to our daily activities, such as reducing our driving, taking light rail or the bus, refueling after dark or riding a bike to work, we can have a significant impact on reducing ozone concentrations and help keep our air clean.”

In 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency lowered the ozone heath standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb. The revised 70 ppb standard resulted in more high pollutions advisories (HPA) in Maricopa County, to remain above the heath standard and in nonattainment.

“While the new, more stringent federal health standard for ozone triggers more HPAs the fact is that in the past two decades, Arizona has achieved significant improvements in our overall air quality and more specifically, lower ozone levels,” McNeely said. “Each and every one of us can make a difference in improving the quality of the air we breathe through simple actions previously mentioned. “

To learn more about the MCAQD’s Commit to One Day program or to sign-up to receive air quality updates by email or text message visit www.CleanAirMakeMore.com.

OZONE BACKGROUND: When exposed to sunlight, VOCs and NOx react to form ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone is more prevalent April through September.

Ozone pollution prevention tips:

• Drive less. When possible, carpool, van pool or use public transportation.

• Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines. Park your car and go inside.

• Ride your bike or walk to work.

• Refuel your vehicle after dark or during cooler evening hours.

• Use low VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers.

• Delay painting projects until high-pollution advisories or health watches have passed.

For more information, contact Communications Supervisor Bob Huhn, (602) 506-6713.

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About Maricopa County Air Quality Department

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. Visit www.CleanAirMakeMore.com to learn more.

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