The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a “Spare the Air” health alert today, which advises residents to reduce their energy use during periods of increased pollution.
The warning, the second issued for smog this year, means that the air will contain high concentrations of ozone.
“Air quality is expected to be unhealthy over the Fourth of July holiday weekend,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air quality district. “It’s important that we reduce the number of cars on Bay Area roads every day to prevent unhealthy air.”
High ozone levels are produced when motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals combine with oxygen in the presence of heat and sunlight. Ozone can irritate the throat and lungs, trigger asthma and worsen bronchitis and emphysema, among other hazards.
Residents are encouraged to drive less and reduce their energy use to help lower pollution levels during the alert period. Children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions should limit vigorous outdoor exercise to the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.
Residents should also avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers, avoid the use of aerosol spray cleaners, paints and hairspray, and cook indoors rather than on the barbecue.
Sara Gaiser, Bay City News