The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday, June 1, that there would be an air quality alert for Friday, June 2, for people who are sensitive to elevated ozone levels.
IEPA Director John J. Kim said residents should use caution when outdoors as air quality conditions are expected to be in the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” category, according to the national Air Quality Index.
The Illinois EPA has issued an air quality forecast of “Orange” or “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” for all of Illinois.
Ground-level ozone is formed when emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds from vehicles, power plants and other industrial sources react in the presence of sunlight.
These conditions pose a potential health hazard to sensitive populations, including individuals with respiratory or pulmonary disorders, as well as active children and adults.
Sensitive individuals should take special precautions and follow their physician-prescribed regimen. All residents should keep cool and limit physical activity when air quality is low. Possible symptoms related to sensitive groups impacted by low air quality include coughing or shortness of breath.
Businesses and residents are also encouraged to take steps to reduce contributions to air pollution including:
- Taking public transit, ridesharing, walking or biking.
- Consolidating errands if driving.
- Reducing energy demands.
- Avoiding use of gasoline-powered equipment when air quality is elevated.
Because air quality can change from day to day, the Illinois EPA provides daily air quality forecasts based on the Air Quality Index for fourteen sectors throughout Illinois. The AQI is a color-coded system that classifies air quality from Good (Green) to Hazardous (Maroon).
U.S. EPA has also published an Air Quality Guide for Ozone.