Air quality alert issued for Maricopa County

The National Weather Service and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality have issued an air quality alert for Maricopa County for Wednesday. The ozone high pollution warning runs through 9:15 p.m. April 17.

Forecast weather conditions combined with existing ozone levels were expected to result in ozone concentrations that pose a health risk. Adverse health effects increase as air quality deteriorates. Ozone is an air contaminant that can cause breathing difficulties for children, older adults, and people with respiratory problems. A decrease in physical activity was recommended.

People were urged to car pool, telecommute or use mass transit. The use of gasoline-powered equipment should be reduced or done late in the day.

For details on this high pollution advisory, visit the ADEQ internet site at or call 602-771-2300.

For the latest watches and warnings, see The Arizona Republic's weather alert page.

How do I protect myself during high pollution days?

When air quality is poor, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality suggests you take more care about being outdoors. Ozone levels are generally highest in the afternoon, so consider rescheduling activities and taking more breaks.

Protect your lungs: Here's how to help lower ozone levels going into the hotter weather

To avoid health risks associated with ozone:

  • Reduce exposure by playing and exercising outdoors before noon.

  • Limit vehicle idling when possible.

  • Curtail daytime driving.

  • Refuel cars and gasoline-powered equipment as late in the day as possible.

  • Carpool.

  • Combine trips.

  • Limit vehicle idling by avoiding drive-thrus and excessive idling caused by long wait times making left-hand turns.

This article was generated by The Arizona Republic and USA TODAY Network using data released by the National Weather Service. It was edited by a staff member.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Air quality alert issued for Maricopa County