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District issues first Spare the Air Alert for Memorial Day

The first Spare the Air Alert of the year has been issued for Monday by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, with light winds, high temperatures and vehicle exhaust forecast to make air quality unhealthy.

Air district Executive Director Jack Broadbent said in an announcement:

“As the shelter in place continues, even with reduced traffic on our roads, there is still enough tailpipe exhaust to allow smog to build up during this hot weather.”

Broadbent said:

“Bay Area residents are concerned about their respiratory health more than ever and can protect themselves this Memorial Day by avoiding outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day, when air pollution levels are highest.”

Temperatures are expected to be 6 to 13 degrees above normal along the coast and a heat advisory has been issued for interior portions of the Bay Area from 11 a.m. Monday through 7 p.m. Thursday.

Air district officials warn that ozone can cause throat irritation, congestion, chest pain, trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema. Long-term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function. Ozone pollution is particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. When a Spare the Air Alert is issued, outdoor exercise should be done only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

The Spare the Air season officially started on May 4, but the district said at the time that record-low numbers of cars on the region’s roads due to Covid-19 coronavirus-related shelter-in-place orders had led to good air quality throughout the area.

To find out when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect, residents can sign up for text alerts by texting the word “START” to 817-57, register for email AirAlerts at, call 1(800) HELP-AIR, download the Spare the Air App or connect with Spare the Air on Facebook or Twitter.

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