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Ozone Air Quality Alert Season Starts March 1

It’s Time to Watch for Air Quality Alerts

March 8, 2018

Although Central Ohio has continued to experience wintry conditions in recent weeks, Ozone Air Quality Alert Season has already started.

Higher levels of ozone pollution that come with sun and high temperatures are especially troublesome for those with sensitive breathing issues or respiratory disease during the warmer months of the year. For this reason, ozone air quality season lasts from March through October.

For many years, MORPC has issued daily air quality forecasts for ozone and particle pollution and notified the public when pollution levels have become unhealthy for sensitive groups of people, including children and older adults. This year is no exception.

Anyone can sign up to receive Air Quality Alerts directly to their e-mail, and it is very important to some families. A local resident named Adam had this to say:

“Our air quality story begins with our son, Finn. He was born early with ‘cloudy’ lungs and spent 16 days in the NICU while learning to breathe. Never have we cared more about air quality than when our son first breathed it on his own. We are constantly checking air quality and worrying about how he will respond.”
Adam, Local Resident

MORPC works closely with local health agencies, the news media, and other local meteorologists to help spread the message when an Air Quality Alert is issued. Many people have noticed the dynamic messaging signs along area highways, which often notify drivers of Air Quality Alerts.


Ground-level ozone is a colorless, odorless gas produced when emissions from vehicles, lawn equipment and industry combine in the presence of sunlight. Particle pollution is a mixture of solids and liquid droplets that vary in size, and its sources include motor vehicle exhaust, power plants, and industrial facilities.

People with asthma are more likely to suffer an increase in the number and severity of symptoms on days when an Air Quality Alert is issued. Those who are active outdoors should be aware of respiratory or cardiovascular effects from unhealthy air including coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Pollution levels are generally lower during morning or evening hours, making then a better time for outdoor activities.

MORPC encourages those in the region to take steps to reduce emissions by considering different ways of commuting such as carpooling and taking the bus. With MORPC’s Gohio Commute, residents can explore the many commuting options available in Central Ohio.  Other simple actions to take include not idling your vehicle, refueling after dark, and avoiding the use of gas powered lawn equipment on Air Quality Alert days.

Look for more information when Air Quality Awareness Week takes place April 30 – May 4.

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