Unhealthy air quality expected for SCV

Gary Muller charges his electric BMW i3 at Whole Foods Market on Valencia Blvd. on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. Electric cars are a good option for reducing ozone emissions and helping to clean up the environment. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

High temperatures in the Santa Clarita Valley have increased the chance of unhealthy to very unhealthy air quality in the area. Ground-level ozone, the biggest summertime pollutant, can cause adverse health effects when it reaches high levels.

“Ozone air pollution can irritate the respiratory system, reduce lung function, inflame and damage cells that line the lungs and aggravate asthma and other chronic lung diseases,” said an advisory from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), which is the air pollution control agency for major portions of Los Angeles.

Poor air quality is not unusual during the summertime. Although, The National Weather Service is predicting a heat wave that can last through at least early next week. These conditions coupled with atmospheric effects that trap pollution near the ground, can result in an unhealthy air quality for the region.

In order to stay safe while there is unhealthy air quality, the SCAQMD suggests checking the air quality in your area and limiting physical exertion when it is at high levels. A map showing ozone levels throughout Los Angeles can be found here.

Ozone levels are considered unhealthy when the air quality index (AQI) is between 151 and 200 and is very unhealthy when between 201 and 300. The SCAQMD also suggest reducing ozone levels by using public transportation, carpooling or reducing driving in general, especially on hot summer days.

People with asthma may be more sensitive to high ozone levels.

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