The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is issuing a dust High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Tuesday, February 15 for coarse particulate matter (PM10) in Maricopa County. This HPA is due to particle pollutant levels expected to accumulate enough to exceed the federal health standard for PM10.
People with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are most likely to be affected by particle pollution. PM10 particles are so small they are able to travel into the respiratory tract where they can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to these particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.
This High Pollution Advisory includes the following restrictions:
- Wood burning in residential fireplaces, chimeneas, outdoor fire pits, and similar outdoor fires is prohibited in Maricopa County. This includes individuals and businesses which have burn permits for open burning.
- Employees and contractors of government entities are prohibited from operating leaf blowers. Residents are encouraged to avoid leaf blowing during HPAs.
- Off-road vehicle use should be avoided.
ADEQ recommends that the general public limit outdoor activity while the HPA is in effect, especially children and adults with respiratory problems.
During this HPA, ADEQ and the Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) encourages residents and businesses to use these tips and resources to help make the air healthier to breathe:
- Avoid activities that generate dust, such as driving on dirt roads.
- Stabilize loose soils.
- Eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
- Avoid using leaf blowers. Use a rake or broom to keep debris out of the road and away from storm drains, ditches, and streams.
- Drive as little as possible: carpool, use public transit or telecommute. For information on transportation alternatives, visit Valley Metro: ShareTheRide.com
High Pollution Advisory (HPA): Notifies the public that the level of an air pollutant is expected to exceed the federal health standard.
Particulate Matter: State and county agencies measure levels of particulate matter (PM) in the air. PM is extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets that circulate in air. PM comes from combustion (cars, industry, wood burning) or dust stirred up into the air. High levels of PM occur when air is especially stagnant or windy. Two types of PM are measured: PM10, commonly called dust, and PM2.5, commonly called soot. PM10 refers to dust particles 10 microns or less and PM2.5 to soot particles 2.5 microns or less. For perspective, one strand of human hair is 70-100 microns in size.
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About Maricopa County Air Quality Department
MCAQD’s mission is to improve the air of Maricopa County so customers, residents, and visitors can live, work, and play in a healthy environment. MCAQD is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and follows air quality standards set forth by the federal Clean Air Act. For air quality information and resources, visit CleanAirMakeMore.com.
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