As temperatures rise into the 90s (and higher in some Valley areas) again over the next few days, the South Coast Air Quality Management District is warning that air quality may become Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy in parts of our metro area.
According to the SCAQMD:
Levels of ground-level ozone – the predominant summertime pollutant – are likely to reach the Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy level in the Santa Clarita Valley, the San Gabriel Mountains, portions of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, the Inland Empire and the San Bernardino Mountains.
While poor air quality is not unusual during summer months in the Southland, the National Weather Service is predicting a heat wave over the entire Southwest that will last through at least early next week. Those conditions coupled with predicted atmospheric inversions that trap pollution near the surface may cause unusually high and persistent levels of poor air quality.
When air quality is Unhealthy and reaches an air quality index (AQI) range of 151 to 200, everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and persons with a higher sensitivity level may experience more serious effects. When air quality is Very Unhealthy with an AQI range of 201 to 300, everyone in the region may experience more serious health effects.
Ozone air pollution can irritate the respiratory system, reduce lung function, inflame and damage cells that line the lungs and aggravate asthma and other chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Children, older adults, and people with asthma may be more sensitive to the health effects of ozone.
Unhealthy air quality can lead to increased school or work absences, visits to doctors and emergency rooms and hospital admissions. Research also indicates that ozone exposure can increase the risk of premature death from heart or lung diseases.
Residents should consider the following measures during hot weather months:
- Check the air quality forecast and current measurements in your area. At times when the AQI is forecast to be unhealthy, limit physical exertion outdoors. In most places, ozone peaks in mid-afternoon to early evening. Change the time of day of strenuous outdoor activity to avoid these hours, or reduce the intensity of the activity;
- Use public transportation, carpool or reduce driving to help reduce ozone pollution, especially on hot summer days; and
- Consider setting your thermostat a little higher in the summer. Participate in your local utilities’ energy conservation programs.
If you would like to subscribe to the SCAQMD’s real-time air quality alerts, advisories and forecasts by email, see http://AirAlerts.org.
SCAQMD Advisory updates can be found at http://www.aqmd.gov.
And to view current air quality conditions by region in an interactive map, see http://www3.aqmd.gov/webappl/gisaqi2/home.aspx
Also, for some other good tips about dealing with the heat, hot weather energy use (and potential blackouts), and how to keep pets comfortable, see https://www.larchmontbuzz.com/featured-stories-larchmont-village/heat-alerts-tips-you-your-pets/