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Maricopa County Issues First Ozone Warning Of 2017

By Stina Sieg
Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 4:53pm
Updated: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 9:04am
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Maricopa County is facing its first high ozone warning of the year, with a high pollution advisory called for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bob Huhn, with the Maricopa County Air Quality Department, said that even if you can’t see, smell or taste ozone on high-pollution days, you can still be vulnerable to its effects.

Those include “shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing,” Huhn said. “You can get headaches.”

The agency is warning people to be careful on these high ozone days, he said, days when the ozone levels are expected to exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality standards. Huhn said people can help lower harmful ozone by modifying their behavior, even a little bit.

“That’s why we’re asking residents to make a commitment — at least once a week, but especially on high pollution advisory days,” he said. “We’re asking folks to drive as little as possible, carpool or use public transportation. Or telecommute.”

Not idling in drive-through lines can also help, he said, as can pumping gas in the evening, as opposed to the daytime.

Huhn said there were 36 ozone advisory days in the county last year. But that number can be misleading, as the EPA recently made the standards for acceptable levels of ozone more stringent.