What is an Air Quality Health Advisory?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An Air Quality Health Advisory was issued for much of the state, including western New York.

The advisory is in effect until 10 p.m. Monday. So, what does it mean?

State officials are concerned about ozone as a pollutant in the air. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health (DOH) issue these kinds of advisories when either fine particulate matter or ozone is expected to reach higher than 100 on an Air Quality Index.

The higher the number on the scale, the greater the health concern is, according to the state.

Ground-level ozone, which the state says is a major component of photochemical smog, can be formed due to Summer heat. The primary sources of ground-level ozone though, are vehicle exhaust and out-of-state emission.

Anyone who experiences symptoms like coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath after spending time outside should consider calling their doctor to avoid further problems.

The DEC issued these tips to reduce pollution and save energy:

  • use mass transit or carpool instead of driving, as automobile emissions account for about 60 percent of pollution in our cities;
  • conserve fuel and reduce exhaust emissions by combining necessary motor vehicle trips;
  • turn off all lights and electrical appliances in unoccupied areas;
  • use fans to circulate air. If air conditioning is necessary, set thermostats at 78 degrees;
  • close the blinds and shades to limit heat build-up and to preserve cooled air;
  • limit use of household appliances. If necessary, run the appliances at off-peak (after 7 p.m.) hours. These would include dishwashers, dryers, pool pumps and water heaters;
  • set refrigerators and freezers at more efficient temperatures;
  • purchase and install energy efficient lighting and appliances with the Energy Star label; and
  • reduce or eliminate outdoor burning and attempt to minimize indoor sources of PM 2.5 such as smoking.

More information on ozone and PM 2.5 can be found here.

WEATHER | See our latest 4Warn Forecast here.

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