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Air Quality Alert issued for Friday

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The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director said residents should use caution when outdoors Friday, June 2.

The Illinois EPA has issued an air quality forecast of “Orange” or “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” for all of Illinois.

Ground-level ozone is formed when emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds from vehicles, power plants, and other industrial sources, react in the presence of sunlight. As a result of current ground-level ozone levels and anticipated weather conditions, the air quality is forecasted to be “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” statewide Friday.

These conditions pose a potential health hazard to sensitive populations, including individuals with respiratory or pulmonary disorders, as well as active children and adults, according to the IEPA.

It advises sensitive individuals to take special precautions and follow their physician-prescribed regimen. All residents should keep cool and limit physical activity when air quality is low. Possible symptoms related to sensitive groups impacted by low air quality include coughing or shortness of breath.

Businesses and residents are also encouraged to take steps to reduce contributions to air pollution including:

* Taking public transit, ridesharing, walking, or biking.
* Consolidating errands if driving.
* Reducing energy demands.
* Avoiding use of gasoline-powered equipment when air quality is elevated.

People with lung disease such as asthma, children and teens, older adults, and people who are routinely active outdoors for six or more hours a day: Reduce your exposure by choosing less strenuous activities or shortening the amount of time you are active outdoors, according to the U.S. E.P.A.

Thursday saw a ozone at a moderate level.


Because air quality can change from day to day, the Illinois EPA provides daily air quality forecasts based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) for fourteen sectors throughout Illinois. The AQI is a color-coded system that classifies air quality from Good (Green) to Hazardous (Maroon). Air quality forecasts are available at www.airnow.gov.

Residents are also encouraged to subscribe to receive FREE air quality forecasts via email or Twitter at http://illinois.enviroflash.info.

U.S. EPA has also published an Air Quality Guide for Ozone at: https://www.airnow.gov/sites/default/files/2023-03/air-quality-guide-for-ozone_0.pdf

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