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News from President Toni Preckwinkle

Wednesday, September 14th is an Air Pollution Action Day

The Partners for Clean Air and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency are issuing an Air Pollution Action Day alert for the Chicago Metropolitan area for Wednesday, September 14th. The impacted area includes Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties in Illinois. This is the fifth Air Pollution Action Day for 2011.

This measure is being taken due to the fine particulate matter in the air as a result of smoke from the Minnesota wildfires.

Northern Illinois is currently experiencing elevated levels of fine particulate matter as a result of smoke in the area from the wildfire in Minnesota. Current conditions are expected to continue throughout today, therefore, an Air Pollution Action Day is being issued for September 14th. Additional days may be called should conditions warrant. Elevated levels of fine particulate matter pose health risks to sensitive populations, especially individuals with respiratory or pulmonary disorders as well as active children and adults.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued suggested tips to protect individuals and families from health effects of smoke from the wildfire:

  • Pay attention to local air quality reports and health warnings related to smoke.
  • Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it’s probably not a good time to mow the lawn or go for a run. And it’s probably not a good time for your children to play outdoors.
  • If you are advised to stay indoors, take steps to keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep your windows and doors closed.
  • Check the Air Quality Index (AQI) forecast for your area. The AQI, based on data from local air quality monitors, tells you about the daily air quality in your area and recommends precautions you can take to protect your health. As smoke gets worse, the concentration of particles in the air changes – and so do the steps you should take to protect yourself.
  • Run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.
  • Help keep particle levels inside lower. When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves – and even candles. Avoid vacuuming as it stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke, as it puts more pollution in your lungs, and in the lungs of people around you. If you have asthma or other lung disease, make sure you follow your doctor’s directions about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

For additional information on smoke from forest fires, visit www.airnow.gov. For other ways to reduce contributions to air pollution, visit www.cleantheair.org.