Careful! Ozone levels high |

Careful! Ozone levels high

Ozone levels are expected to be bad through today, so an advisory for sensitive individuals has been issued by the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District.

Ozone-sensitive people should limit prolonged outdoor exertion, the advisory said. Those people include the elderly, children, asthmatics, pregnant women, athletes and adults with heart and lung disease.

Exposure to ozone can result in chest pain, coughing, nausea, shortness of breath, throat irritation, headaches, congestion and chest discomfort, the advisory said.

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Brett Nelson said, “We’ve received a few more patients … than normal,” but “they’re the type that tend to have a propensity towards respiratory problems.”

Ozone is a component of smog. Grass Valley has some of the highest chronic levels of ozone in California, due mainly to vehicle exhaust carried here by winds from the Central Valley and Bay Area, air pollution officials say.

People are encouraged to reduce driving on hot summer days when ozone levels are high.

Other helpful steps to take include reducing the use of gas-powered lawn mowers, weed eaters, leaf blowers and chain saws, officials say. And don’t use paint products, chemical solvents or lighter fluid if you barbecue, because they all give off volatile organic compounds which can contribute to smog.

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