TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) air quality monitors are showing elevated levels of particulate matter in Pima County.
The wind-blown particles are obscuring mountain views and could cause health issues for those with respiratory and heart disease. Winds are predicted to increase and continue throughout the day, so air pollution levels could get worse in the next few hours. At this time, particulate levels are not high enough for PDEQ to issue an air quality advisory; however, unusually sensitive individuals may want to limit their exposure to outside air until the particles settle out of the air.
Small particles can travel into the respiratory system and cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. If they are in dust-prone areas, those most at risk may feel better if they avoid outside exercise and keep windows and doors closed to help reduce exposure to particulate matter.
Particulate matter is made up of tiny specks of soot, dust, and aerosols that are suspended in the air we breathe. Particulate matter can come from disturbed land, dirt roads, construction and mining activity and becomes airborne with high winds. Small particulate matter can also come from combustion sources such as cars, industry, and indoor and outdoor fires.
PDEQ monitors air pollution in our region at 15 air quality monitoring sites in eastern Pima County. Up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available in the air monitoring section of the PDEQ website. Individuals can sign up to receive Air Quality Advisories and other Pima County Department of Environmental Quality notices via email. In addition, individuals can sign up to receive the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality provides 5-Day Air Quality Forecasts for Pima County.