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May 14, 2010 > Spare the Air smog season

Spare the Air smog season

Submitted By Kristine Roselius

To protect public health and reduce harmful smog, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the regional agency chartered with protecting air quality in the Bay Area, launched the Spare the Air smog season on May 3, the first day of Air Quality Awareness week.

"Tailpipe exhaust from the three to four million vehicles on our roads each day remains the largest source of smog in the Bay Area," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. "To reduce the health impacts from smog, we must all think differently about how we use our cars as part of our daily routine."

The Air District issues Spare the Air Smog Alerts whenever ozone pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. Ozone, or smog, 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 can reduce lung function.

High levels of ozone pollution are particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. When a Spare the Air Smog Alert is issued, vigorous outdoor exercise should be done only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

Ground-level ozone is formed when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides from motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals combine with oxygen in the presence of heat and sunlight.

The public can do simple things to Spare the Air, daily - carpool, take public transit, work at home or telecommute, bike to work or around town, link errands to reduce driving and use electric-powered garden equipment.

Residents can check the daily air quality forecast by visiting, via the toll-free hotline 1-800-HELPAIR (435-7247) and signing up for email AirAlerts at

For more information about Spare the Air, visit

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