Illinois EPA issues air quality alert
sensitive groups should take extra precautions
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[June 29, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- For the third
consecutive day, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is
issuing an air quality forecast of "unhealthy for sensitive groups"
(orange according to the federal Air Quality Index) for multiple
sectors in Illinois. These include Chicago, St. Louis (Metro-East),
Peoria and Springfield areas, encompassing much of central Illinois.
Air pollution levels, specifically ground-level ozone, are expected
to reach this category as a result of the high temperatures and low
This air quality forecast is issued when weather conditions are such
that widespread ozone or fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels are
expected to be at or above the "unhealthy for sensitive groups"
category on the Air Quality Index. Thursday and Friday were expected
to meet these criteria; therefore, an "orange" forecast was issued.
Ozone is at increased levels, posing a potential health hazard to
sensitive populations, especially individuals with respiratory or
pulmonary disorders, as well as active children and adults. Those
individuals should take special precautions and follow their
physician-prescribed regimen. Residents should keep cool and limit
physical activity when air pollution levels are high.
Businesses and residents in the specified areas are encouraged to
take precautions and asked to follow "green actions" (see list
below) to reduce contributions to air pollution. These groups are
also encouraged to share air quality forecasts with colleagues,
friends and family to help protect their health.
transit, carpool, walk or bike.
If driving, avoid
idling, consolidate errands and run them after 7 p.m. when
sunlight is not as strong.
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energy-efficient light bulbs.
thermostat up at least two degrees.
Turn off and
unplug electronics not in use.
environmentally friendly household and cleaning products.
Use a charcoal
chimney or gas grill instead of lighter fluid when grilling.
Do not burn leaves
and other yard waste.
Sign up to receive
your local air quality forecast via email at
Environmental Protection Agency
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]