October 23, 2017
Don't breathe too deeply, heat wave cooks up bad air
SOUTHLAND - (INT) - Sizzling temperatures are expected to persist over the next several days throughout the South Coast basin increasing the likelihood of unhealthy to very unhealthy air quality in many areas.

Levels of ground-level ozone, the predominant summertime pollutant, are likely to reach the unhealthy to very unhealthy level in the Santa Clarita Valley, the San Gabriel Mountains, portions of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, the Inland Empire and the San Bernardino Mountains.

While poor air quality is not unusual during summer months in the Southland, the National Weather Service is predicting a heat wave over the entire Southwest that will last through at least early next week.

Those conditions coupled with predicted atmospheric inversions that trap pollution near the surface may cause unusually high and persistent levels of poor air quality.

When air quality is unhealthy and reaches an air quality index (AQI) range of 151 to 200, everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and persons with a higher sensitivity level may experience more serious effects.

When air quality is very unhealthy with an AQI range of 201 to 300, everyone in the region may experience more serious health effects.

Ozone air pollution can irritate the respiratory system, reduce lung function, inflame and damage cells that line the lungs and aggravate asthma and other chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Children, older adults, and people with asthma may be more sensitive to the health effects of ozone.

Unhealthy air quality can lead to increased school or work absences, visits to doctors and emergency rooms and hospital admissions. Research also indicates that ozone exposure can increase the risk of premature death from heart or lung diseases.
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