Spare the Air Alert Issued for Friday

Unhealthy air quality is forecast for the Bay Area on Friday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has declared Friday the third Spare the Air Health Alert for smog in 2011 due to anticipated unhealthy air quality.

Wood burning will not be allowed, and residents are encouraged to drive less and reduce their energy use to lower pollution levels, according to the air district.

There will not be free transit on Friday.

“A brief spike in temperatures [Friday] is expected to contribute to unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area,” Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District, said in a statement.

“Unhealthy air quality can be avoided if we reduce our driving by taking public transit, carpooling, biking or walking to work,” he said.

The air district released the following information regarding the effects of poor air quality:

Motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals contain volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides that combine with oxygen in the presence of 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 undertaken 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.

A list of what the public can do to make clean air choices every day:

•       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

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (www.baaqmd.gov) is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the Bay Area. For more information about Spare the Air, visit www.sparetheair.org.


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