Air pollution – Easy/Med – Help Improve our Air: Bad Air Day Actions to Consider

Green Living Ideas for:   Bad Air Days 1

What It Takes:  Easy/Med – Learn what you can do and make adjustments

 1) Sign up for the local air quality forecast. If it is poor, consider minimizing your impact.

Go to AirNow  scroll to the bottom to have the air quality forecast emailed daily to your inbox.

2) On Days when High Ozone Levels are Expected, Take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution:

  • Choose a cleaner commute – share a ride to work or use public transportation.
  • Combine errands and reduce trips. Walk to errands when possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling of your automobile; park instead of idling in the drive-thru.
  • Refuel your car in the evening when its cooler.
  • Conserve electricity and set air conditioners no lower than 78 degrees.
  • Defer lawn and gardening chores that use gasoline-powered equipment, or wait until evening.

 3) On Days when High Particle Levels are Expected, Take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution:

  • Reduce the number of trips you take in your car.
  • Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
  • Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

 4) Take steps to minimize your exposure to air pollution and protect your health.

 The following summarizes actions to take when pollutants (O-Ozone, P-Particles, C-Carbon Monoxide and S – Sulfur) rise to unhealthy levels and above according to the Air Quality Index (AQI).

 Sensitive Groups. Sensitive groups of people vary based on the pollutant as shown below.  As AQI values rise, members of sensitive groups are more likely to experience health effects and those effects are more likely to be severe.

  • Ozone:People with lung disease such as asthma, children, older adults, and people who are active outdoors are considered sensitive and therefore at greater risk.
  • Particle pollution:People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children are considered sensitive and therefore at greater risk.
  • Carbon monoxide: People with heart disease, like angina, are at greater risk.
  • Sulfur dioxide: People with asthma, heart or lung disease and children are at greater risk

Green  Good (0 – 50)            

Little or no health risk. Enjoy outdoor activities

Yellow  Moderate (51 – 100)             

A very small number of people may experience moderate symptoms.

  • O, P – Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.
  • C, S – None

 Orange  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (101 – 150)

Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects, but the general public is unlikely to be affected.

Sensitive Groups:

  • O, P, C – reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion
  • C – avoid sources of CO, such as heavy traffic
  • S – People with asthma should consider reducing exertion outdoors

Red  Unhealthy (151 – 200)

Everyone may begin to experience health effects when AQI values are between 151 and 200. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

Sensitive Groups:

  • O, P – avoid prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion
  • C – reduce moderate exertion;
  • C – avoid sources of CO, such as heavy traffic
  • S – reduce exertion outdoors

Everyone else:

  • O, P – should limit/reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion

 Purple  Very Unhealthy  (201 – 300)

Everyone may experience more serious health effects. A HEALTH ALERT is triggered.

Sensitive Groups:  STAY INSIDE

  • O, P – avoid all outdoor exertion
  • C – avoid outside exertion;
  • C – avoid sources of CO, such as heavy traffic
  • S – avoid exertion outdoors

Everyone else:

  • O – limit all outdoor exertion.
  • P – avoid prolonged or heavy outside exertion
  • S – reduce exertion outdoors

What You Get: Information to help improve our air quality and your health

World Benefit: Cleaner air and better health.

References: 1) Information summarized from presentation by Matt Mehalik during the April 30th Earth day service

2) https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqi_brochure.index ; https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=pubs.aqiguideozone

Share Your Idea: Have a green living idea that works for you? Please forward to conniemhester@yahoo.com for inclusion in an upcoming newsletter and on the Green Sanctuary webpage.

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