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Air quality potentially impacted by increasing ozone due to excessive heat, elevated PM2.5 due to fireworks

VICTOR VALLEY, Calif. (VVNG.com) — The Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) is advising of potentially poor air quality beginning Wednesday, July 3, 2024 and continuing through Tuesday, July 9, 2024, for all of the MDAQMD jurisdiction.

Ground-level ozone, July 3 through 9, 2024

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for a heat wave sweeping across California, including communities within MDAQMD boundaries. Excessive daytime high temperatures contribute to increased concentrations of ground-level ozone and may worsen ambient (breathable) air quality to the “Red – Unhealthy” Air Quality Index category. At this level, anyone may experience health effects. Those with respiratory illnesses, children, seniors and active adults are more likely to experience health effects. 

The advisory may be extended consistent with NWS and air quality forecasts.

As ground-level ozone can be difficult to detect to the human eye and nose, MDAQMD encourages residents to check the Air Quality Index before heading outside. Visit MDAQMD.ca.govAirNow.gov or use the weather app on your smartphone. An AQI of 101 or higher is unhealthy for sensitive groups; 151 or higher is unhealthy for all; 201 or higher is very unhealthy.

PM2.5 due to fireworks — July 4 and 5, 2024

In addition to ozone impacts, MDAQMD has regularly measured an increase in PM2.5 levels late on July 4 and on July 5 in years past, likely a direct result of numerous commercial fireworks displays as well as an extraordinary volume of illegal “backyard” fireworks. Fireworks are known to emit high levels of PM2.5 and PM10 as well as metal air pollutants, all of which can contribute to negative health effects. Breathing high levels of fine particulate matter can lead to a wide variety of cardiovascular and respiratory health effects such as heart attacks, asthma aggravation, decreased lung function, coughing and difficulty breathing.

Fireworks, especially “personal” ones ignited illegally pose a serious threat of sparking wildfires. As with any wildfire, this potential threat is not only a danger to life and property, it can create unhealthy and potentially hazardous air quality conditions.

Recommended action

Elevated levels of fine particle pollution and ground-level ozone can affect everyone, but it’s particularly unhealthy for those with heart and respiratory illnesses, children, seniors and active adults.

In any area impacted by poor air quality including smoke, residual pollution from fireworks, and ozone:

  • everyone should consider avoiding any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion;
  • people with respiratory or heart disease, older adults, and children should consider remaining indoors;
  • keep windows and doors closed;
  • run your air conditioner if you have one – recirculation function is ideal;
  • avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing outdoor pollutants inside.

The U.S. EPA’s Smoke-Ready toolbox offers helpful tips to protect your health and that of those around you at https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/fires-and-your-health.
MDAQMD encourages residents to check local air quality levels by visiting www.AirNow.gov. Sign up for text and email air quality forecasts at www.enviroflash.info.


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