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ABQ ozone levels merit health alert

Albuquerque has issued another health alert due to high measurements of ground-level ozone.

This is the city’s second ozone health alert in as many days, and the fourth time an alert for high levels of the pollutant has been issued this year.

Ground-level ozone is a gas that forms when chemicals found in vehicle emissions and industrial sites like power plants react in sunlight.

Jeff Stonesifer, a meteorologist with the city’s air quality program, said the high-level ozone days this week can be traced to smoke from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.

Stonesifer said a high pressure system over Albuquerque is causing the wildfire smoke to hover above the city.

“Wildfire smoke contains those precursors for ozone,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to push ozone levels close to the federal standard.”

The pollutant contributes to smog and can irritate breathing conditions like asthma and chronic bronchitis.

The Environmental Protection Agency website states that winds can transport ozone long distances.

The alert from the city’s Air Quality Program says that “those with respiratory conditions in the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County should limit outdoor activity.”

Hot and sunny days in urban areas create ideal conditions for high ozone levels. The New Mexico Environment Department will host public information meetings this month about rising ozone levels in the state.

The Albuquerque health alert expires at 6:00 p.m. Friday.




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