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Expect More 'Spare The Air' Alerts In Sacramento

Capital Public Radio / File

The American Lung Association "State of the Air 2016" report says California has the most polluted air in the country and climate change is a growing threat to air quality in the state.

Capital Public Radio / File

May 1 marks the start of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District’s 22nd year for issuing "Spare the Air" alerts. The alerts are issued from May to October.   

Last year, the District says there were 5 "Spare The Air" alerts.

But this year, in response to a lowered federal ozone health standard, a Sacramento region "Spare The Air" alert will be issued when ozone pollution is forecast to meet or exceed 126 on the Air Quality Index or AQI.

Because the Environmental Protection Agency has lowered the federal ozone health standard, the district says there likely will be more "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" and "Unhealthy" days.

Health studies have shown that ozone pollution is harmful even at lower levels.

A recent report from The American Lung Association says California had the most polluted air in the country from 2012-to-2014.

Los Angeles had the worst ozone pollution, Bakersfield had the nation's worst particle pollution.

The report also showed the Sacramento region saw a 53 percent reduction in ozone days and a 76 percent reduction in unhealthy particle pollution days.

Ozone and particle pollution have been linked to lung diseases and respiratory illnesses, including asthma and bronchitis.

The American Lung Association report says climate change is a growing threat to air quality in California, as wildfires and drought increase particle pollution.

People who live in the Sacramento region can sign up to receive the daily air quality forecasts from the Sacramento Metropolitan AQMD or download the free app.