Portland, OR—Increasing ozone levels and continued hot weather, along with intrusions of wildfire smoke and stagnant conditions today and into next week have triggered the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Southwest Clean Air Agency and Lane Regional Air Protection Agency to issue an air pollution advisory. This advisory, for ground-level ozone (smog) and wildfire smoke, is expected to last through Tuesday, Aug. 8 but above-90 temperatures and a number of active wildfires conducive to increasing ozone and particulate matter levels are expected to linger through next week.
Current air quality information is available on the web:
- For areas in Oregon, other than Lane County: http://www.oregon.gov/deq/aq/Pages/aqi.aspx
- For the Vancouver, WA area: http://www.swcleanair.org/burning/airquality.asp
- For Lane County: http://www.lrapa.org/216/Todays-Current-Air-Qualit...
The Oregon Smoke Blog also includes resources on wildfire smoke and has daily forecasts. It is at: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/
The Air Quality Index rates air quality based on labels of “good” (0 to 50, green), “moderate” (51 to 100, yellow), “unhealthy for sensitive groups” (101-150, orange), and “unhealthy” (151-200, red), and “very unhealthy” (201 to 300, deep red). Any reading above 300 is “hazardous.” Ozone levels are expected to increase into the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range at several locations in the Portland and Vancouver metropolitan areas.
The advisory means that local residents are urged to protect their health and help improve air quality by reducing pollution from cars, mowers, paint and aerosol sprays. Commuters should consider taking public transportation or carpooling to work instead of driving, if possible. Smog-sensitive people, and those sensitive to wildfire smoke, should limit outdoor activities. This group includes older adults, children and people suffering from asthma or lung disease.
Pollution levels peak in the late afternoon and early evening. If you have asthma or other breathing problems, follow your health care provider's advice. Nearly 10 percent of Oregon adults and children have asthma, according to Oregon public health officials.
Here are ways you can help smog-sensitive people in your community by reducing air pollution:
• Avoid unnecessary engine idling
• Refuel your vehicle during cooler evening hours
• Limit driving by combining errands or using public transportation
• Don't use gas-powered mowers and yard equipment
• Don't paint or use aerosol sprays
Businesses can help by encouraging employees to carpool, take the bus or telecommute on advisory days.
On very hot summer days pollution from cars, other gas-powered engines and smog-producing chemicals in paints and aerosol sprays can create unhealthy levels of smog. Smog irritates the eyes, nose and lungs, and contributes to breathing problems, reduced lung function and asthma. Gas-powered engines are a top source of smog.
For information about transportation options in the Portland area, call 503-238-RIDE (238-7433) or visit www.trimet.org.
For information about using C-TRAN or other transportation options in Vancouver area, call 360-695-0123, or visit www.c-tran.com
For information about transportation options in the Eugene area, call 541-687-5555 or visit www.ltd.org.
For weather information visit the National Weather Service website at: www.nws.noaa.gov.
Matthew Van Sickle, Public Information Officer, DEQ, 503-229-6044, firstname.lastname@example.org
Uri Papish, SW Clean Air Agency, Vancouver, WA, 360-574-3058, ext. 112, email@example.com
Jo Niehaus, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, Eugene, 541-736-1056, ext. 217, jniehaus@LRAPA.org