Statement issued Tuesday:
The level of ozone in Fort Wayne and Allen County has been forecast to be Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups on Wednesday, July 7, 2010.
Active children and adults, the elderly, and people with heart or lung disease should limit or avoid prolonged outdoor exertion while an Air Quality Action Day for Ozone and Particulate Matter is in effect. Try to reschedule exercise, cookouts, and other outdoor activities until after the forecast expires or move them indoors. Use an indoor air filter if one is available. If breathing becomes difficult, go indoors and contact your health care provider.
Ground level ozone is formed when a mixture of air pollutants are cooked in the sunlight. Weather conditions used in forecasting levels of ground-level ozone include amount of sunshine, temperature, wind direction and humidity. Even at low levels, breathing ground-level ozone can trigger a variety of health problems for people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
PM2.5 is composed of microscopic dust, soot, liquid droplets and smoke particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller. A human hair is 75 microns wide. PM2.5 deposits itself deep into lungs and cannot be easily exhaled. Those at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high PM2.5 exposure. Stagnant weather conditions reduce the natural cycling process of the atmosphere and can lead to elevated levels of PM2.5.
To reduce ozone and PM2.5, everyone should:
- Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation.
- When driving, walk inside instead of using the drive-through, combine errands into one trip, and turn off your engine when idling for more than 10 seconds
- Drive slowly on dirt or gravel roads.
- Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
- Set your air conditioning to 75 degrees for maximum energy savings while staying cool.
- Maintain proper air pressure in tires.
- Delay lawn mowing or vehicle refueling until after 7 p.m.
- Conserve electricity by turning off lights and computers when not in use.
For more information, visit the IDEM Smog Watch Web site at www.in.gov/apps/idem/smog or call 1-800-631-2871. Or please visit the Clean Air Force at www.thecleanairforce.org.