The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast a code Orange air quality action day for ozone for Thursday, June 20, in the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, and Susquehanna Valley regions.
On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.
The Lehigh Valley region is Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties. The Philadelphia region is Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The Susquehanna Valley region is Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.
Ground-level ozone, a key component of smog, forms during warm weather when pollution from vehicles, industry, households and power plants “bakes” in the hot sun, making it hard for some people to breathe.
To help keep the air healthy, residents and businesses are encouraged to voluntarily limit certain pollution-producing activities by doing the following: Refuel cars and trucks after dusk; Wash dishes and clothes only with full loads; and Carpool, combine errands and reduce trips.
These forecasts are provided in conjunction with the Air Quality Partnership of the Delaware Valley, the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, the Lehigh Valley/Berks Air Quality Partnership and the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership.
For more information, visit DEP's Air Quality Partnership webpage.