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Air quality alert issued for Portland metro area

Air quality officials expect high levels of smog Thursday afternoon that could be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

PORTLAND, Ore. — As the region deals with a heat wave, an air quality advisory has been issued for the Portland metropolitan area due to elevated levels of ozone pollution, according to the Oregon Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) and Southwest Clean Air Agency (SWCAA).

Portlanders can expect ozone pollution to reach high levels Thursday afternoon and into the night.

Health officials warned that air quality could be unhealthy for sensitive groups and should limit their outdoor activity. Sensitive groups include children, seniors, pregnant women and people with heart disease or respiratory conditions. 

Residents should be cautious and limit activities to help reduce ozone smog levels. Recommendations include:

  • Limit driving and use public transportation, carpooling or other alternative transportation
  • Avoid leaving your car engine running when not in motion
  • Refuel vehicles during cooler evening hours
  • Put off mowing the lawn or using leaf blowers.
  • Put off painting and aerosol spray projects.

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Smog forms when low winds and hot temperatures are combined with pollution from cars, gas-powered engines and chemicals in paints and aerosols, according to DEQ and SWCAA. It can irritate the eyes, nose and lungs, and can contribute to breathing problems. 

Resources to keep up with the daily air quality index can be found online via airnow.gov, iqair.com and KGW.com.

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