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Bad Air Alert: Portland area, Salem, Albany, Corvallis – Smog and Ozone Pollution

DEQ and SWCAA expect ozone pollution to be elevated today and reach levels tomorrow afternoon, September 1, that could be unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, pregnant people, older adults, and people with heart disease or respiratory conditions. Health officials recommend sensitive groups limit outdoor activity when pollution levels are high.

The agencies expect the air quality advisory to last until Thursday night.

The agencies urge residents to protect their health and limit activities that cause pollution during the heat wave. Recommendations include: 

  • Limit driving by using public transit, carpooling or other alternative transportation.
  • Avoid unnecessary engine idling. 
  • Refuel vehicles during cooler evening hours. 
  • Postpone mowing the lawn or using leaf blowers.
  • Postpone painting and aerosol spray projects.

Smog irritates the eyes, nose and lungs, and contributes to breathing problems. Consult your health care provider if these symptoms worsen. 

Ozone forms when hot temperatures and low winds combine with pollution from cars, gas-powered engines and chemicals in paints and aerosols. These air pollutants react with sunlight and heat to produce ozone and haze.

Ozone pollution increases throughout the day with exposure to sunlight, so pollution levels tend to be highest during afternoons and early evenings. Air quality monitors may show good air quality in the morning, then quickly jump to unhealthy levels later in the day.

Check current air quality conditions and advisories on DEQ’s Air Quality Index or by downloading the free OregonAIR app on a smartphone.

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