That means, folks, that the air will be unhealthy today, and the air district is asking residents to do all they can to help keep it from getting worse. That includes:
• Bike to work or around town
• Take public transit
• Work at home or telecommute
• Carpool and link your errands to reduce driving
• Avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers
• Reduce household energy use
• Don’t use lighter fluid on the barbecue
• Avoid using aerosol spray cleaners, paints and hairspray
There is also a no wood burning ban in place. The Air District encourages residents to drive less and reduce their energy use every day so pollution levels are lower, preventing health alerts when temperatures are high.
“A brief spike in temperatures today is expected to contribute to unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district. “Unhealthy air quality can be avoided if we reduce our driving by taking public transit, carpooling, biking or walking to work.”
The air district has described for us why the use of gas-powered vehicles contributes to health risks:
“Motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals contain volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides that combine with oxygen in the presence of heat and sunlight to form ground-level ozone. Breathing ozone can cause throat irritation, congestion and chest pain. It can trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema.
“Long-term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function. High levels of ozone pollution are particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. Vigorous outdoor exercise should be undertaken only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower. The Air District issues Spare the Air Alerts whenever air quality is forecast to reach unhealthy concentrations.”
I especially like the part about no vigorous exercise except early in the morning. See, in the early morning hours, I’m afraid I have to prepare nouns and verbs for my readers, and just can’t get to the vigorous exercise part until later in the day. But if the air district says I shouldn’t, well, who am I to argue?
If you plan to leave town this weekend, please drive safely, and remember — you can download the Martinez Patch mobile app to take with you wherever you go. Whether you’re leaving town or staying put, please find room in your heart to give yourself some love and attention – you deserve it.
TODAY IN HISTORY (from Wikipedia):
1901 - Vice President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt utters the famous phrase "Speak softly and carry a big stick" at the Minnesota State Fair.
1963 - CBS Evening News becomes U.S. network television's first half-hour weeknight news broadcast when the show is lengthened from 15 to 30 minutes.
1991 - The United States recognizes the independence of the Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
1992 - An earthquake in Nicaragua kills at least 116 people.
1998 - The UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda finds Jean Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide.
2001 - Plots for the 9/11 attack started.