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Third Straight Spare-the-Air Alert Today

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a smog health alert for today, Wednesday, the third day in a row. Residents are urged not to drive and to avoid vigorous outdoor exercise except in the early morning.

Bay Area smog levels are expected to pose health risks again today, Wednesday, for the third straight day, according the region's air quality monitoring agency.

"Air quality in the Bay Area is forecast to be unhealthy for the third day in a row tomorrow, Wednesday, September 21," according to a district news release Tuesday.

"This late seasonal hot spell is expected to create conditions for unhealthy air quality for the third day in a row,” Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the agency, said in a statement.  “We’re urging everyone to make clean air choices, such as taking public transportation, reducing energy use, and refraining from using gas-powered lawn equipment, to keep pollution levels down.”

The agency advises against outdoor vigorous execise on Spare the Air days, except in the early morning hours when ground ozone levels are lower. Wood-burning is banned on such days.

Dangerous ground-level ozone increases with a rise in temperature in combination with sunlight, oxygen and volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides caused by car exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals, the district said.

The agency said health effects of ozone can include "throat irritation, congestion and chest pain. It can trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema." Long-term exposure can reduce lung function, it said.

"High levels of ozone pollution are particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions," according to the district.

Today's alert is the seventh this year, two more than the total at this time last year, said district spokeswoman Kristine Roselius. Alerts occur mostly in the late spring and summer. Last year ended up with 10 alerts, following 14 in 2009 and 13 in 2008, she said.

The agency urged members of the public to consider these daily measures to insure healthier air:

  • Bike to work or around town
  • Take public transit
  • Work at home or telecommute
  • Carpool and link your errands to reduce driving
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers
  • Reduce household energy use
  • Don’t use lighter fluid on the barbecue
  • Avoid using aerosol spray cleaners, paints and hairspray

Correction: The original version of this story, citing an email from Nick Tiano, a communications consultant for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, incorrectly reported that three Spare the Air days in a row are "extremely rare." District spokeswoman Kristine Roselius said three straight days of Spare the Art alerts are fairly common. The story has been corrected.

MIKE ALFORD September 21, 2011 at 11:43 PM
Well I glad they corrected that -- Why would this supprise anyone -- Last year it was in the Contra costa Times -- Right here in our own back or in some cases front Yard -- that the Refinery - Right here in Martinez was the Secound Most Polliter in the Bay Area -- Next to Chevron which is 8 miles up wind from Martinez -- Now This Was In Last Years Times --- right here in Martinez -- 4.6 Million Metric Tons Of polluents & Co2 A year come out on to the public --- Do you realize thats around -- 40,000 lbs A Day !! ---- But Its really a Joke From the So Called Bay Area Air Quality Control Board when they can cite you for burning a presto log in your fire place !! Figure that One Out ???
Withmar September 22, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Shell Polluting Martinez Since 1915! And who is on the Air Board ignoring the refineries. The same guy who let the Marina go unmaintained for more than a decade. What a record!
MIKE ALFORD September 22, 2011 at 05:47 AM
Well Lets see --- That Would have to be Mark Ross -- he is on 6 different boards at the Air Quality Control Board -- he has been on the Martinez Marina commision with The mayor for 14 years --he has been on the Martinez City Counsel for almost 15 years -- And all the beat goes on ! Whos really pulling the strings and why does everyone just keep voiting these people right back in Office ?? Well Folks Even With The Facts and The Reality of All this -- They Will All Be Voted Back !!

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