2010 March 8: IL Chicago area : Air Pollution Action Day

2010 March 8: IL Chicago area : Air Pollution Action Day
March 8, 2010

CHICAGO, IL – The Partners for Clean Air and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency are issuing an Air Pollution Action Day notice to alert individuals in the Chicago Metropolitan area that current levels of air pollution, specifically fine particulate matter, are elevated. 
An Air Pollution Action Day is declared when weather conditions are such that widespread ozone or fine particulate matter, PM2.5, levels are expected to be at or above the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category on the Air Quality Index. 
Tuesday, March 9th is expected to meet these criteria, therefore, Air Pollution Action Day is being declared.  At increased levels, fine particulate matter pollution can pose a potential health hazard to sensitive populations, especially individuals with respiratory or pulmonary disorders.  Those individuals should take special precautions and follow their physician prescribed regimen. 
Particulate matter consists of tiny airborne particles that are often less than one-hundredth the width of a human hair.  Like ground-level ozone (smog), particle pollution can aggravate respiratory and heart conditions.  Exposure to particle pollution has also been linked to premature deaths.  Unlike summertime ozone (smog) pollution, unhealthful levels of particle pollution can occur year-round, including the cooler months of winter.
As a result of an Air Pollution Action Day being called, Partners for Clean Air members, businesses and residents of the Chicago metropolitan area are asked to follow “Green Actions” (list follows) to reduce contributions to air pollution.
·      Avoid making fires in wood-burning fireplaces and fire-pits.
·      Limit driving alone.  Take public transit, Rideshare walk or bike.
·      When driving, try to run errands in the evening, consolidate destinations & avoid idling.
·      Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
·      Set your thermostat down at least 2 degrees during the winter months.
·      Turn off and unplug electronics.
·      Use environmentally friendly “low VOC” paint and household cleaning products.
·      Switch to reusable grocery bags and water bottles.
·      Use a charcoal chimney instead of lighter fluid when grilling.
·      Avoid using gasoline-powered equipment on Action Days.
·      Mulch or compost leaves and other yard waste rather than burning.
The Partners for Clean Air coalition consists of businesses, government and health advocate groups committed to improving the region’s air quality through voluntary actions.  More information can be found at: www.cleantheair.org.  
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