PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With temperatures expected to climb into the 90s Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has forecast a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for the Pittsburgh area.
According to the DEP, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.
Also, residents and business are encouraged to voluntarily restrict certain pollution-producing activities by:
• Refueling cars and trucks after dusk
• Setting air conditioner thermostats to a higher temperature
• Carpooling or using public transportation
• Combining errands to reduce trips
The last Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for the Pittsburgh area was on June 17.
The Pittsburgh area as defined by the DEP encompasses the Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland Counties.
AccuWeather Meteorologist Elliot Abrams explained to the “KDKA Morning News” what prompts an Air Quality Action Day.
“The ozone alert is based on the idea that we get high concentrations of ozone down here near the ground [and] the sunlight works on the hydrocarbons of the atmosphere to generate that compound,” he said.
Abrams says that ozone is a good thing, when it remains in the upper atmosphere.
“When ozone is in the upper atmosphere, it screens out ultraviolet radiation and prevents serious sunburn…When it’s down here where we’re breathing it, it’s a different story because it’s rather toxic and can cause lung problems,” said Abrams.