Metro Phoenix's ozone pollution has gotten more severe, EPA says
The EPA reclassified the Valley's ozone pollution as "moderate" last month, which is more severe than its previous ranking of "marginal."
Why it matters: Ozone is harmful to breathe. It aggressively attacks lung tissue, which can cause respiratory diseases, according to the American Lung Association.
Of note: The Phoenix area has significantly decreased the number of high ozone days since its peak in 2000.
- Yes but: The ALA's 2022 State of the Air report still ranked the Phoenix metro area as the fifth worst for ozone pollution compared to other metro areas.
Flash back: In 2015, the EPA tightened the ozone pollution standard to 70 part per billion, from 75.
- Our region, which includes all of Maricopa County and parts of Pinal County, had until August 2021 to meet the new standards. It did not.
What's next: The new classification requires the region to take more intense action to bring down ozone pollution.
- For example: Any large new developments — or major expansions to existing facilities — will be required to offset every ton of emissions by 1.15 tons.
Be smart: The Maricopa Association of Governments offers some tips for everyday residents to combat ozone pollution:
- Fuel your vehicle after dark or during cooler evening hours.
- Use water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers.
- Eliminate wood-burning in fireplaces, stoves and outdoor fire pits.
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