Air quality reaches ‘unhealthy’ levels

A 'Spare the Air' alert was issued Aug. 23

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a Spare the Air Alert Thursday, Aug. 23, as ozone and particulate pollution from Northern California and Sierra Nevada wildfires reached dangerous levels from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo.

On Thursday the most dangerous area, with “unhealthy” levels, was San Francisco, where people in all age groups, even those in good health, “may begin to experience negative health effects.”

On Friday morning, Aug. 24, conditions eased in San Francisco, but worsened in southern Santa Clara County and San Benito County, where unhealthy levels of pollution increased.

Friday afternoon conditions eased somewhat in the South Valley and San Benito, with the designation shifting from “unhealthy” to “moderate levels” of ozone and particulate pollution.

The district warned that people in “sensitive groups” — those with heart or lung disease (including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), older adults, children, pregnant women, newborns, and people with obesity or diabetes— may be more susceptible to the effects of particle pollution in unhealthy or moderate conditions, with irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

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