Friday, May 30, 2014

Air quality information from Clean Air Partners

From our friends at Clean Air Partners, some helpful information for cyclists about air quality as summer approaches:
With summer around the corner Ozone levels will be rising in the region. Ozone is the most widespread air pollutant in Fairfax, created by the reaction of sunlight on emissions from vehicles and other air pollutant sources.

Bicycles are the ultimate clean-air (zero emissions and zero carbon dioxide) form of transportation, but the impact of ozone pollution on lung tissue can be serious. The effect excessive ozone and poor air quality exposure on cyclists’ athletic performance can last for several days to weeks. There is a bright side – and Clean Air Partners can help area cyclists protect their health during poor air quality days. 

Regional air quality organization Clean Air Partners offers AirAlerts. AirAlerts are free, daily air quality notifications that inform recipients when the air quality forecast will be unhealthy and when it hits an unhealthy level (Code Orange or Red) in real-time. Users can get AirAlerts sent directly to their email and also use the Clean Air Partners Air Quality App for on-the-go information. 

What does it mean for cyclists? 
CODE GREEN: Get on your bike. Riding a bike on short trips will save gas and help protect the air. 

CODE YELLOW: Bike Less. Air quality is acceptable but this could cause health concerns for sensitive groups (such as athletes and those who spend a lot of time outside). Travel on quieter routes with less traffic, away from tailpipe emissions. 

CODE ORANGE: Limit biking and other physical outdoor activity. Carpool to work a few days, or even one day a week when the air is unhealthy to breathe. If possible wait to ride your bike at dusk.

CODE RED: Put away the bike. Take public transit or telecommute and limit strenuous outdoor activity when their air is unhealthy to breathe. Everyone is sensitive to this level of poor air quality and should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion

CODE PURPLE: Don’t even think about it. Take public transit or telecommute to reduce your contribution to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Everyone, especially sensitive groups, should avoid any physical outdoor activities as pollution levels are very unhealthy.

Clean Air Partners would like to thank cyclists in Fairfax for contributing to an overall improvement in our community’s air quality and environment. Have fun and make sure you check out to sign-up for AirAlerts! 

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