PORTLAND — The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality advisory Monday for the Portland metro and Salem areas due to elevated levels of ozone pollution, or smog.
DEQ expects ozone pollution to reach levels this afternoon that could be unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, people over 65, pregnant people and people with heart disease or respiratory conditions. Health officials recommend sensitive groups limit outdoor activity when pollution levels are high.
DEQ expects the air quality advisory to last until Monday night.
DEQ urges residents to protect their health and limit activities that cause pollution during the heat wave. Recommendations include:
- Limit driving by using public transit, carpooling or other alternative transportation.
- Avoid unnecessary engine idling.
- Refuel vehicles during cooler evening hours.
- Postpone mowing the lawn or using leaf blowers.
- Postpone painting and aerosol spray projects.
Smog irritates the eyes, nose and lungs, and contributes to breathing problems. Consult your health care provider if these symptoms worsen.
Ozone forms when hot temperatures and low winds combine with pollution from cars, gas-powered engines and chemicals in paints and aerosols. These air pollutants react with sunlight and heat to produce ozone and haze.
Ozone pollution increases throughout the day with exposure to sunlight, so pollution levels tend to be highest during afternoons and early evenings. Air quality monitors may show good air quality in the morning, then quickly jump to unhealthy levels later in the day.
DEQ’s color-coded Air Quality Index provides current air quality conditions and ranks air quality as follows: Green is good. Yellow is moderate. Orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with respiratory conditions. Red is unhealthy for everyone. Purple is very unhealthy for all groups. Maroon is hazardous.