The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has issued an Air Quality Action Day and is forecasting high ozone levels for Friday in the southeastern part of the state including Jackson County.
Other counties involves are Clark, Floyd, Harrison, Jefferson, Scott and Washington. The Air Quality Action Day also is in effect Friday for 32 other Hoosier counties including Bartholomew, Brown and Monroe.
Ground-level ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather bake vehicle exhaust, factory emissions and gasoline vapors. Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties.
IDEM encourages everyone to help reduce ozone by making simple changes to their daily habits. Citizens can:
- Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation
- Avoid using the drive-through and combine errands into one trip
- Avoid refueling your vehicle or using gasoline-powered lawn equipment until after 7 p.m.
- Turn off your engine when idling for more than 30 seconds
- Conserve energy by turning off lights or setting the air conditioner to 75 degrees or above
Anyone sensitive to changes in air quality may be affected when ozone levels are high. Children, the elderly and anyone with heart or lung conditions should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors.
IDEM examines weather patterns and current ozone readings to make daily air quality forecasts. To learn more about ozone or sign up for air quality forecasts, visit www.SmogWatch.IN.gov or download IDEM’s iPhone App: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smogwatch/id882860480?mt=8.
On Oct. 1, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency finalized the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone. The new rule sets more stringent standards, lowering both the primary (health-based) and secondary (welfare-based) standards from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb.
IDEM encourages all Hoosiers to be proactive and help reduce ozone for those who may be sensitive.