Thursday, July 15, 2010

Code Orange Air Quality Action Day Alert Scheduled for Friday 7/16/2010

During Code Orange air quality days, air pollution levels can be harmful to children, older adults, and anyone with a respiratory or heart condition. The EPA advises such groups to limit outdoor activity on Code Orange air quality days.


Ground level ozone is formed during hot summer days from the reaction of sunlight with oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). NOx and VOCs come from many sources including vehicle and power plant emissions, lawn mowers and other fuel burning equipment, and vapors from gasoline, paints, and industrial processes.

Take These Steps to Reduce Air Pollution:
  • Carpool, telecommute, or take mass transit to get to work
  • Limit driving and combine errands
  • Refuel after dark
  • Do not use gasoline-powered lawn equipment, including mowers
  • Wait for a cooler day to use oil-based paints or switch to non-solvent or low VOC-based paints
  • Avoid using aerosols and household products that contain solvents
  • Walk to nearby restaurants or bring your lunch to avoid mid-day driving
  • Conserve energy at home, at work, and everywhere to reduce power demand

In the Baltimore/Washington region, more than 320,000 adults and 100,000 children have asthma.

On Air Quality Action Days, mowing a typical lawn produces the same amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), an ozone forming compound, as driving a car from Montgomery County to Raleigh, NC.

Every summer day, the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment releases more than 100 times the VOCs of a typical large industrial plant.

For more information and real time air quality levels, visit the Clean Air Partners website at: or contact Pam Parker, Senior Air Planner, Department of Environmental Protection, 240.777.7758

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