With temperatures expected to hit almost 100 degrees this weekend, the Spokane Clean Air Agency wants to warn you that ‘summer ozone season’ as arrived and encourage you to reduce emissions. To do this, they ask you to cut back on gas-powered activities, such as car trips and yard work that involves gas mowers or trimmers.
The hot days contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, a harmful air pollutant and a key ingredient in smog. Ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react in the presence of sunlight. Pollutants from our daily activities “cook” in the sunshine and hot temperatures, forming ozone.
Ways to reduce emissions include:

• Reduce car trips by combining errands.
• Walk, bike, carpool or ride the bus to work.
• Purchase products and paints with a zero or low VOC content.
• Refuel your car in the evening when possible.
• Avoid overfilling your vehicle’s gas tank or “topping off” your tank. Stopping at the first “click” reduces spills and the amount of gas vapors that escape into the air.
• Avoid using small gasoline-powered engines, such as lawn mowers and tractors, chain saws, power washers, air compressors, weed whackers, leaf blowers, etc.
• Keep tires inflated properly. When your tires are inflated correctly, your car drives more efficiently which improves your gas mileage and reduces the pollution entering the air.
• Store gasoline and other solvents in tightly closed containers in dark, cool places.
• Avoid using lighter fluid to start your charcoal barbecue. Lighter fluid has high VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) content.

Here’s more information on ozone and the damage it can cause, and a place where you can sign up to get alerts when air quality is poor.

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