Air Quality Advisory Issued
July 31, 2020
An Air Quality Advisory has been issued for eastern Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of ground-level ozone that are expected to persist until tomorrow. Hot and sunny weather today is causing increased levels of ground-level ozone.
Ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air. It is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents) react in the air in the presence of sunlight. The highest levels of ground-level ozone are generally observed between mid-afternoon and early evening on summer days.
Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evening, when ozone levels are highest, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable. Consider choosing easier outdoor activities such as walking instead of running where you don’t have to breathe as hard. Exposure is particularly a concern for people with underlying conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including bronchitis and emphysema, as well as asthma, and/or diabetes, individuals with respiratory infections such as COVID-19, pregnant women and infants, children, outdoor workers (e.g. construction and agricultural workers), and older adults. Individuals who are socially marginalized may also be at elevated risk.
As we are in the summer season with warm temperatures, it is also important to stay cool and hydrated. Indoor spaces with air conditioning may offer relief from both heat and air pollution. Indoors and outdoors, physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19 should still be observed. Consider creating a comfortable space at work and home. If you are experiencing symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, seek prompt medical attention. Call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency.
Information about real-time air quality readings for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley communities and potential health impacts can be found at www.airmap.ca and http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/bcairquality/readings/find-stations-map.html.