The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) forecasts that the level of ozone in the air for St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Porter, and Lake Counties may be unhealthy for sensitive groups on Thursday, August 2.
IDEM is saying the forecasted ozone levels are expected to exceed healthy levels. Sensitive groups, including children, the elderly, and anyone with cardiac (heart) or pulmonary (lung) problems, should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors.
IDEM has several suggestions to help the ozone levels.
Wait until after 7 p.m. to fill up gas tanks or mow the lawn;
When driving, avoid using the drive-through, combine errands into one trip and turn off your engine when idling for more than 10 seconds;
Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation;
Set your air conditioning to 75 degrees for maximum energy savings while staying cool;
Do not burn yard waste and debris;
Use water-based paints and solvents; and,
Be careful not to spill gasoline when refueling vehicles and lawn equipment.
Ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather bake vehicle exhaust, factory emissions and gasoline vapors. While necessary in the upper atmosphere to protect human health, ground-level ozone is an irritant to the respiratory system and can cause coughing and difficult breathing. Prolonged exposure may increase the chance of these symptoms.