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Pima County issues health watch over ground-level ozone pollution

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 19:33:37-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) has issued a health watch due to elevated levels of ground-level ozone in the air in the Tucson metro area.

The PDEQ warns anyone sensitive to pollution may experience coughing, shortness of breath or throat irritation and should stay indoors.

The department hasn't said how long the health watch will last.

Motor vehicle exhuast, power plant emissions, gasoline vapors and chemical solvents all contribute to ground-level ozone, as well as natural causes like wildfires.

The PDEQ offers these tips to help reduce ground-level ozone:

  • Reduce driving - combine errands into one trip, ride the bus, bike, walk or share rides
  • Avoid idling your vehicle’s engine. Refrain from long drive-thru lines - park and go inside instead
  • Re-fuel your car after 6 p.m. when fumes are less likely to form ozone
  • While re-fueling, always stop at the click to avoid spills and overfilling gas tank
  • Make sure your gas cap is tightly sealed after re-fueling
  • Check your tire pressure monthly to reduce gasoline use and associated air pollution
  • Use low VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and gardening equipment
  • Conserve electricity to reduce emissions from power plants