What does an Air Quality Alert mean? What to know about it and which was issued for the Nashville area

Nashville area under orange air quality alert. Here's what it means  Tennessean

What does an Air Quality Alert mean? What to know about it and which was issued for the Nashville area

What does an Air Quality Alert mean? What to know about it and which was issued for the Nashville area

Air Quality Alert Issued for Nashville Area

Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-being

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has issued an Ozone Code Orange Air Quality Alert for the Nashville area for Thursday, June 13. According to the Tennessee Air Quality Forecast Program, ozone values are beginning to increase due to warm and sunny weather, with little wind and low humidity.

The weather conditions will allow pollutants to build up in the atmosphere and react with sunlight, leading to the creation of ground-level ozone, they said in a social media post. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, ground level ozone is the main ingredient in smog. It is a harmful air pollutant because of its effects on people and the environment.

The Ozone Code Orange alert signifies members of vulnerable groups, like children, older adults or people with asthma, may experience health effects. The general public is less likely to be affected.

Weather conditions for the greater Nashville area on Friday, June 14, will allow ozone levels to remain in the Orange level. People with lung disease, children, older adults and people who are active outdoors are encouraged to reduce prolonged time outdoors or heavy outdoor exertion.

What are air quality alerts?

Air quality alerts are used to inform the public about pollution levels in the air, and to advise vulnerable groups to take precautions. The Air Quality Index was created by the EPA to monitor and report on air quality.

There are five major air pollutants. They include:

  • ground-level ozone
  • particle pollution
  • carbon monoxide
  • sulfur dioxide
  • nitrogen dioxide

How does the Air Quality Index work?

The values of the Air Quality Index run from 0 to 500. The higher the value, the higher the level of air pollution and higher the health concern.

When values are at or below 100, they are generally thought of as satisfactory. However, when values reach 100 or above, air quality is unhealthy and poses a risk for sensitive groups of people. As values increase, so do the health risks for everyone.

The Air Quality Index is divided into six categories: good (labeled green), moderate (labeled yellow), unhealthy for sensitive groups (labeled orange), unhealthy (labeled red), very unhealthy (labeled purple), and hazardous (labeled maroon). Each category corresponds to a different level of health concern.

What are the health effects of ozone pollution?

According to the EPA, the people most at risk for breathing air containing ozone include people with asthma, children, older adults, and people who are active outdoors, especially outdoor workers. Even relatively low levels of ozone can cause health effects, they said.

Depending on the level of exposure, ozone can cause the following health issues:

  • Coughing and sore or scratchy throat
  • Difficulty breathing deeply and painful deep breaths
  • Inflame and damage the airways
  • Make the lungs more susceptible to infection
  • Aggravate lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis
  • Increase the frequency of asthma attacks

Source: tennessean.com