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  • Increased particulate matter and ozone prompt air quality advisory

    Jun 20, 2017 | Read More News
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    The hazy skies and disappearing mountain views are linked to wildfires in the region. The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) is issuing an air quality advisory due to elevated levels of particulate matter throughout eastern Pima County. According to the National Weather Service, winds are bringing smoke from the Frye Fire near Safford into the Tucson area.

    air qualityIn addition, there is a possibility that strong winds predicted for later today could add airborne dust to the mix of elevated particulates. Particulate levels will likely remain in the air for a day or more until the wind direction and speeds change, or if it rains.

    Also, when the cloud cover we are currently experiencing dissipates, it is possible that the solar radiation will increase ground-level ozone pollution as well.
     
    Individuals with heart disease and respiratory sensitivities may want to reduce their level of exertion to decrease the amount of particulates they breathe into their lungs. Small particles can travel into the respiratory system and cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath.

    Those most at risk may feel better if they avoid outside exercise, stay inside as much as possible, and keep windows and doors closed to help reduce exposure to particulate matter.
     
    Particulate matter is made up of tiny specks of soot, dust, and aerosols that are suspended in the air we breathe. Particulate matter can come from dust from disturbed land that becomes airborne with high winds and also from combustion sources such as cars, industry, and indoor and outside fires.

    PDEQ monitors air pollution in our region at 16 air quality monitoring stations. Up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available in the air monitoring section of the PDEQ website at www.pima.gov/deq. The public can sign up here to receive Air Quality Advisories and other Pima County Department of Environmental Quality notices directly via email.