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Health Alert — 'Spare the Air' Wednesday

Warning of unhealthy air, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued its fourth Spare the Air alert this summer for Wed., Sept. 7. The agency also offered tips to help keep pollution levels down in hot weather.

It's going to be hot this week, and that means air quality may be unhealthy.

To help keep the air cleaner and residents safe, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued its fourth Spare the Air Health Alert of the summer for Wednesday, Sept. 7.

The district encourages residents to drive less and reduce their energy use, so pollution levels are lower. They also ask Bay Area residents to keep their energy use in mind on any warmer days, to prevent health alerts when temperatures are high.

“Air quality is expected to be unhealthy again in the Bay Area,” said Air District Executive Officer Jack Broadbent. “Hot temperatures and tailpipe exhaust contribute to unhealthy smog so it is important that we all reduce our driving every day and take precautions to protect our health.”

Car exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals contain volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides that combine with oxygen in heat and sunlight to form ground-level ozone.

Breathing ozone can cause throat irritation, congestion and chest pain. It can trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema.

Long-term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function. High levels of ozone pollution are particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. Vigorous outdoor exercise should be only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

The Air District issues Spare the Air Alerts whenever air quality is forecast to reach unhealthy concentrations.

Here are tips to help keep the air cleaner:

  • 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

Note: Air quality in the Bay Area is forecast to be unhealthy Wednesday, Sept. 7. There is no free transit tomorrow and there is no wood burning ban in place.

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