The Illinois Partners for Clean Air and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency have extended the previously issued Air Pollution Action Day Alerts to Friday, August 24th. The continued high temperatures and low wind speeds are expected to lead to elevated ground-level ozone in the Chicago Metropolitan area. Regional air quality is expected to reach the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” category on the national Air Quality Index.
Air Pollution Action Day alerts are issued when widespread ozone or fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels are expected to be at or above the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category for multiple days. Ozone has been at increased levels, posing a potential health hazard to sensitive populations, especially individuals with respiratory or pulmonary disorders as well as active children and adults. It is recommended that sensitive individuals take special precautions and follow their physician prescribed regimen. All residents should keep cool and limit physical activity when air pollution levels are high.
Through the Air Pollution Action Day program, individuals who may be affected by elevated air pollution are alerted to anticipated pollution levels. Additionally, businesses and residents in the region are encouraged to take steps to reduce contributions to air pollution (suggested tips included below).
- Take public transit, Rideshare, walk or bike.
- If driving, avoid idling, consolidate errands and run them after 7 p.m. when sunlight is not as strong.
- Reduce energy demands:
- Use energy efficient light bulbs.
- Set your thermostat up at least 2 degrees or use a programmable thermostat.
- Turn off and unplug electronics not in use.
- Use environmentally friendly household and cleaning products.
- Use a charcoal chimney or gas grill instead of lighter fluid when grilling.
- Avoid using gasoline-powered equipment on Air Pollution Action Days.
- Do not burn leaves and other yard waste.
- Notify colleagues, friends and family to help protect their health and encourage actions.
- Sign-up to receive your air quality forecast via email at www.cleantheair.org.
The Illinois Partners for Clean Air coalition consists of businesses, government and health advocate groups committed to improving the region’s air quality through voluntary actions. More information can be found at www.cleantheair.org.