An "Ozone Action Day Alert" that was first issued on Sunday afternoon is still in effect Monday until 4 p.m. for the Front Range, The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) announced.
Ground-level ozone is expected to climb to the Moderate-to-Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category, especially in areas not effected by thunderstorms. The alert affects the Front Range Urban Corridor from El Paso County north to Larimer and Weld counties, including the Denver-Boulder area, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Greeley, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The RAQC states that ozone can trigger attacks and symptoms in the young and elderly, in individuals with pre-existing conditions, like asthma or other respiratory diseases.
Ground-level ozone is formed when emissions from everyday items -- such as emissions from gas-powered vehicles, local industry or even household paints and solvents -- combine with other pollutants and "cook" in the heat and sunlight, according to the RAQC. The highest ozone levels are usually recorded in summer months when temperatures increase and the wind is stagnant or light.
On alert days, the RAQC asks citizens to take these actions to help reduce emissions:
- Keep our cars well maintained
- Refuel after 5 p.m. on hot, sunny days
- Stop at the click - don't overfill gas tanks
- Walk to lunch and run errands after work
- Take the bus at least once a week
- Use gas-powered lawn equipment after 5 p.m on hot, sunny days
- Avoid painting and staining projects in the heat of the day
- Tightly cap solvents; store in a cool place
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