FEBRUARY 19, 2014

Last week the Central Ohio region experienced an Air Quality Alert due to particle pollution in the air. Cold overnight temperatures caused a strong temperature inversion, trapping pollutants near the surface. In addition, high surface pressure over the Great Lakes region produced northerly winds in the area, limiting the dispersion of pollutants.

MORPC carefully monitors pollution levels in Central Ohio and issues daily air quality forecasts. When there is a potential for high pollution levels, MORPC issues Air Quality Alerts based on the National Air Quality Index. Many factors affect air quality, and Air Quality Alerts can occur when there is either particle pollution or ground-level ozone:

Particle pollution is a mixture of solids and liquid droplets that vary in size. The smaller the particles, the more hazardous they can be to your health because they are more easily inhaled. Sources of particle pollution include motor vehicle exhaust, construction activity, power plants, industrial facilities and wood-burning fires.

Ground-level ozone is a colorless, odorless gas produced when emissions from cars, lawn equipment, and industry react together in the presence of sunlight. Ground-level ozone occurs most frequently on hot, sunny days in urban environments, but it can be transported long distances by wind, affecting rural areas as well.  

Both types of pollution can be dangerous to sensitive groups including people with lung disease, children and older adults. It can also affect healthy adults so it’s important to be aware of conditions. Sign up online to receive free Air Quality Alerts or call our Air Quality Hotline any time at 1.888.666.1009 to find out if an alert has been issued. Employers can contact MORPC at 614.228.2663 to find out how Air Quality Alert notifications can be sent to employees.