Today will be Code Orange day
RALEIGH ó Air quality officials issued a health notice Wednesday for air pollution in the Charlotte metropolitan area today. Forecasters have predicted Code Orange conditions, which means that air quality is likely to be unhealthy for sensitive groups.
The Code Orange forecast means people who are sensitive to air pollution should avoid 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. Ozone can be unhealthy to breathe, damage plants and reduce crop yields. 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 Thursday predicts that ozone levels will exceed the new federal standard of 0.075 parts per million 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.