The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is issuing an ozone watch for the Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton metropolitan areas for Thursday, June 20, 2019. This watch will initiate the issuance of an “Ozone Alert Day” for the Oklahoma City area by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, an “Ozone Alert Day” for the Tulsa area by the Indian Nations Council of Governments, and an “Air Quality Action Day” for the Lawton area by the Lawton Metropolitan Planning Organization.
This ozone watch is a prediction that concentrations of ozone will approach levels of concern over the next 24 hours. Sensitive individuals should plan accordingly. When these levels are reached, an Air Quality Health Advisory will be issued. Health Advisories are notifications that levels of ozone have reached unhealthy levels. They are based on near real time monitoring values.
Persons with lung or heart disease should be aware that increased pollution may cause them to experience adverse health effects. Ozone affects people differently. Unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments. These symptoms are worsened by exercise and heavy activity. Learn your limits. Children, older adults and people with underlying lung diseases, such as asthma, are at particular risk of suffering from these effects. As ozone levels increase, the number of people affected and the severity of the health effects also increase.
To help avoid ozone formation and reduce your exposure:
· Car pool or ride the bus to work or school.
· Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips during morning hours when ozone levels are lower.
· Wait until evening to refuel your automobile or mow your lawn.
· Arrive and leave work a little earlier or later than usual to decrease rush-hour traffic.
· Drive your most fuel efficient vehicle.
· Make sure gas caps on vehicles, lawn mowers and other equipment seal properly.
· Trip chain, combine errands to make one trip instead of several.
· Limit idling time in your vehicle.
· Limit the use of drive-through windows.
· Limit the use of charcoal starter fluid and other products that contain hydrocarbons.
· Postpone normally permissible outdoor burning to a non-Ozone Watch day.
- Limit or postpone the use of two-cycle engines (i.e. lawnmowers, weed eaters, motor boats and motor cycles).
An Air Quality Health Advisory will be issued if/when ozone levels reach unhealthy for sensitive groups level.
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