Stagnant Air Extends Spare the Air Alert for Two More Days

A Spare the Air Alert is in effect in the Bay Area through Tuesday, December 26, 2017. It’s well-known that at certain times of the year, the quality of the air in the Bay Area isn’t the healthiest. These alerts are given when forecasters predict that ozone pollution will reach unhealthy levels for humans. Ozone also referred to as smog, can cause several symptoms in those who are exposed to it, especially in larger quantities. These symptoms include congestion, inflammation of the lungs, worsening existing emphysema and bronchitis, chest pain, and trigger asthma, sufferers. Being exposed to ozone for an extended duration of time has the potential to reduce the functioning of the lungs. Groups most vulnerable to ozone exposure include seniors, those who have current heart or respiratory problems, or young children.

Things you can do to help reduce pollution include
• Using public transportation
• Carpooling and combining trips for errands
• Avoiding the use of gas-powered leaf blowers or lawn mowers
• Limit use of paint, hairspray, and aerosol spray cleaners

When an alert of this nature is issued, it is recommended to exercise early in the morning when ozone levels will be the lowest. The notice also means that it is prohibited to burn solid fuels or wood both indoors and outdoors. The alert was originally issued on Friday but extended for two more days due to standing air. Wood smoke is one of the largest contributors to air pollution in the area.

Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the district, issued a statement thanking Bay Area residents’ for assisting in preserving air quality by not burning anything in their fireplaces. There is an exception to the ban for homes who rely on a wood stove, pellet stove, or fireplace as their only heat source. Even these devices must be registered in the district and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

A high-pressure system above the region until Tuesday is trapping smoke that is close to ground level. A combination of low winds, low temperatures, and excessive smoke contributes to poor air quality for the area. Meteorologist Anna Schneider reported that she expects the weather to continue to be dry with very light windows. The highest wind speeds expected are no more than 10-15 mph, with lows predicted to be in the 40’s and highs in the 60’s for both Monday and Tuesday.



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