Air Quality Awareness Week Focuses on Reducing Exposure to Ozone, Particle Pollution / Keep your eye on the AQI
WASHINGTON — EPA, state and local air agencies across the country are marking Air Quality Awareness Week by reminding Americans to stay "Air Aware" to reduce their exposure — and their contribution — to air pollution.
By following recommendations of the Air Quality Index (AQI), people can take simple steps to reduce the amount of pollution they breathe in. The AQI is EPA’s color-coded tool for reporting daily air quality and forecasts for common air pollutants, including ozone (smog) and particle pollution.
Here are some things you can do to improve your air quality awareness and help protect your health:
· Take the EnviroFlash challenge! EnviroFlash is EPA’s free service that provides local AQI forecasts and air quality action day notifications, by e-mail, or in some cities, via Twitter. EnviroFlash is available for more than 370 U.S. cities. During the month of May, participating agencies are competing to see who can get the biggest increase in subscribers.
· If EnviroFlash isn’t available where you live, check out the AIRNow Web site to see the forecast nearest you. Is it going to be a code orange ozone day? If you’re sensitive to ozone pollution, you can reduce your exposure by taking it a little easier. You don't have to stay inside. You can go for a walk, instead of a run. Or exercise in the morning, when ozone levels are lower.
· Share AQI information with your kids! The new "Why is Coco Orange" booklet, available on AIRNow.gov, explains air quality for children ages 4-8.
Reduce your contribution to pollution. Here are just a few tips for reducing your contribution to ozone and particle formation: Carpool, turn off lights in rooms you’re not using, don’t idle your car and refuel your car after dusk.
Ozone and particle pollution are linked to a variety of serious health effects — including respiratory symptoms in healthy people (such as chest tightness, shortness of breath), aggravation of lung or heart disease and even premature death.