The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is issuing an Ozone High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Maricopa County, effective Friday, May 15, 2020. This HPA is due to ozone levels expected to accumulate enough to exceed the federal health standard for ozone.
Ground-level ozone forms when two types of pollutants — volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and nitrous oxides (NOx) — 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.
People most affected by ozone include children, senior citizens, people who work or exercise outdoors and people with pre-existing respiratory disease. Ozone can irritate the respiratory system, aggravate asthma and reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off respiratory infections. Ozone-related health problems include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, headaches, nausea, and throat and lung irritation.
This High Pollution Advisory includes the following restrictions:
- Employees and contractors of government entities are prohibited from operating leaf blowers.
- Wood burning in residential fireplaces, chimineas, outdoor fire pits and similar outdoor fires is restricted.
ADEQ recommends that the general public limit outdoor activity while the HPA is in effect, especially children and adults with respiratory problems.
ADEQ and Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) recommend residents and businesses use the following tips and resources to reduce ozone pollution and make the air healthier to breathe:
- Drive as little as possible, or telecommute
- Re-fuel your vehicle after dark
- Use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers and 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
- Visit CleanAirMakeMore.com to learn more about reducing air pollution
- High Pollution Advisory (HPA): Notifies the public that the level of an air pollutant is expected to exceed the federal health standard
- Health Watch: Notifies the public that the level of an air pollutant is expected to approach the federal health standard
- Ozone: Ground-level ozone is formed by a chemical reaction among sunlight, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and VOCs
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The Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) 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 mission of MCAQD is to improve the air of Maricopa County so customers, residents and visitors can live, work and play in a healthy environment. 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: CleanAirMakeMore.com.
CONTACT: Bob Huhn – 602-506-6713 (desk) | 602-526-7307 (cell)
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