Forecasters warn of Code Orange air Friday
RALEIGH ó Air quality officials have issued a health notice predicting Code Orange air pollution condition in the Charlotte metropolitan area on Friday.
Code Orange means air quality in the Charlotte area is likely to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, which should should avoid even moderate exertion outdoors in the afternoon.
Sensitive groups include children and the elderly who are active outside, people who work or exercise outdoors and those with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other respiratory ailments.
The primary pollutant of concern is ozone, a highly reactive form of oxygen. High ozone levels generally occur on hot, sunny days with stagnant air, when pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons react in the lower atmosphere.
The air pollution forecast for Friday predicts ozone levels will exceed the new federal standard of 0.075 parts per million (ppm) averaged over 8 hours.
High ozone levels can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with respiratory problems and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals.
People with chronic lung ailments, the elderly and children should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity in the afternoon, when ozone levels are highest.
Ozone also can damage plants and reduce crop yields.