State officials issue heat, smog warnings

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It’s going to be hot Tuesday throughout Chester County, but now state environmental officials are issuing warnings about air quality as once again the mercury is expected climb near 100 degrees — and they’re asking residents to voluntarily cut down on activities that could worsen air quality, and warning the young and the elderly to avoid outdoor activities.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships forecast a code Orange air quality action day for ozone for Tuesday, for four regions in the state, including Philadelphia — which includes Chester and Delaware counties.

On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.

The Philadelphia region is Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.

Ground-level ozone, a key component of smog, forms during warm weather when pollution from vehicles, industry, households and power plants “bakes” in the hot sun, making it hard for some people to breathe.

To help keep the air healthy, residents and businesses are encouraged to voluntarily limit certain pollution-producing activities by:

·         Combining errands and carpooling to reduce trips;
·         Washing dishes and clothes only with full loads; and
·         Saving energy by turning off unused lights in your home.

These forecasts are provided in conjunction with the Air Quality Partnership of the Delaware Valley, the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, the Lehigh Valley/Berks Air Quality Partnership and the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership. For more information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Air Quality Partnership.

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