Ten Tips for Poor Air Quality Days

Monday, Aug 30, 2010  |  Updated 9:45 PM EDT
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Ten Tips for Poor Air Quality Days

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Tuesday is projected to be the area's third Code Red air quality after several Code Oranges this summer.

Clean Air Partners offered the following list of things you can to do protect your health and reduce air pollution on poor air quality days. individuals with heart and/or respiratory disease, children, adults over 65 and those active outdoors should consider these tips.

  1. Sign-up for Clean Air Partners AirAlerts to see if tomorrow’s air quality forecast is going to be unhealthy: Don’t leave home without it! Before you head out for the day, be sure to check your daily AirAlerts (air quality forecast) so you know what measures to take to protect your health, especially if the air is unhealthy. Sign up to receive free AirAlerts at cleanairpartners.net. AirAlerts use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Quality Index (AQI), which rates air quality by color codes and levels of air pollution. The codes range from green (good) to purple (very unhealthy).
  2. Grab a copy of Clean Air Partners’ Air Quality Action Guide. The Air Quality Action Guide developed by Clean Air Partners goes hand-in-hand with daily AirAlerts and provides simple steps people can take to improve air quality, protect their health, and reduce their impact on climate change. The steps are important for sensitive groups during Code Orange and above days. For the full guide visit cleanairpartners.net.
  3. Make your commute a clean commute. Telework, use public transportation or carpool, walk or bike to work instead of driving alone to work each day. By doing this just once or twice a week, you will reduce traffic congestion, improve, air quality, and save money ─ it’s a win-win.
  4. Refuel your vehicle after dusk. Fill up your gas tank in the evening rather than the morning. Emissions from morning gasoline fill-ups contribute to air pollution, particularly during the summertime. Also, be sure to check your gas cap. Leaky gas caps contribute to air pollution and waste fuel due to evaporation. Leaking gas caps equal approximately 200 pounds of evaporative emissions each year. (Source: U.S. Car Care Council)
  5. Plan your route. Combine your errands into one trip. It’s better for time management and reduces air pollution. Starting a car after it has been sitting for an hour causes it to pollute up to five times more than when the engine is warm.
  6. Get a tune-up. Keep your car tuned up and the tires properly inflated to ensure the best possible gas mileage and extend your vehicle’s operating life.
  7. Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment. Mowing for one hour with a gas-powered lawnmower causes as much pollution as driving round-trip from Washington, D.C. to New York City. Postpone cutting the grass on poor air quality days or use an electric lawn mower instead. You’ll save on gas and help your family and neighbors breathe easier.
  8. Conserve at Home. Choose ENERGY STAR® qualified products such as appliances, lighting and heating/cooling equipment. These energy-efficient products not only save you money and help you conserve energy at home, but they help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that impact climate change.
  9. Encourage your employer to become a participant of Clean Air Partners and offer commuter benefits. Today more than 2,900 individuals and organizations are registered as Clean Air Partners participants and have committed to take simple actions on unhealthy air quality days. Find out how your employer can help make a difference on a larger scale by becoming a member at cleanairpartners.net.
  10. Educate your children, your family and your friends. Talk to your child’s school to request Clean Air Partners’ interactive teaching curriculum, “On the Air”. This interactive air quality curriculum will teach your child about the effects air quality has on their health and the environment. Tell your family and friends how they can help by getting clean air information by visiting cleanairpartners.net.

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