Will South Seattle Enter the Ozone Zone this Weekend?
If you have been driving while it’s very hot out, mowing the lawn, burning things, or using aerosols, the state’s Department of Ecology is cross with you. Last Sunday after just a few days of actual summer weather, southeast King County exceeded the federal health-based standard for ozone in the air, which is another way of saying it’s too smoggy. With highs near 80 forecast for this weekend, air quality is expected to deteriorate again.
The federal line in the smog, if you’re curious, is .075 parts per million, averaged over eight hours. The DOE is anxious that “normal” summer temperatures don’t result in areas regularly straying over the EPA’s ozone threshold, as this can result in stricter regulation of industries that release polluting emissions.
“Unhealthy ozone levels can affect everyone, but they especially pose risks for people with lung and heart diseases, children, older adults, and people who are active,” notes the DOE. It’s counterintuitive, given that so many people wait eagerly for an 80 degree summer day in the Northwest, but if smog develops, you’re advised not to spend much time outdoors in it. It inflames your lung tissue, exacerbating asthma, and potentially increasing the chance of pneumonia or bronchitis.
To check on how your area is doing, you can visit the DOE’s air monitor map. Click on the green dot nearest you to get a report on conditions.