Department of Ecology News Release - August 14, 2012
OLYMPIA – Hot, sunny weather expected this week throughout Washington could cause an increase in concentrations of ozone, the major ingredient of smog.
The National Weather Service is predicting high temperatures in the 90s across the state during the next several days. Temperatures may surpass 100 degrees in some areas in Eastern Washington. Sunny, hot weather combines with exhaust from motor vehicles, gasoline vapors, smoke, and other air pollutants to produce higher concentrations of ozone.
Unhealthy ozone levels can affect everyone, but they especially pose risks for people with lung and heart diseases, children, older adults, and people who are physically active. When ozone levels are elevated, people should limit activities and the time they spend outdoors.
The federal limit for ozone is 0.075 parts per million (ppm) averaged over an 8-hour period. On Aug. 5, 2012, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) air monitor at Mud Mountain near Enumclaw recorded a maximum ozone level of 0.082 ppm.
This Ecology video provides more information about how ozone forms. Winds often carry ozone-forming pollutants away from their urban sources to rural areas.
So far, this is the only time in 2012 that ozone has topped the federal standard in Washington. A single, isolated event does not mean the state violates the federal standard for ozone. However, that could change if more events occur in the next two years or if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tightens the standard after completing a scientific review in 2014. Violations would result in the designation of “nonattainment” areas.
You can read more about nonattainment and its consequences here.
Breathing ozone can:
You reduce smog formation in your community when you:
You can monitor the air quality in your area by using Ecology’s Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA) website.
Media Contact: Seth Preston, Ecology communications manager, 360-407-6848; 360-584-5744 cell; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ecology’s video on ozone: www.youtube.com/watch?v=927IBT3WiXs&feature=plcp
Washington Air Quality Advisory: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/Default.htm
Learn about nonattainment: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/sips/designations/nonattainment_areas.htm
Ecology’s social media: www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.html.