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Shelley Osterloh ReportingHot Weather, auto emissions and smoke from wildfires have combined to produce high levels of ozone and particulates.
The Utah Division of Air Quality has issued health advisories for Salt Lake, Utah and Davis Counties.
There's a little haze over Utah County and it continues right into Salt Lake County. In Davis and Weber Counties, the haze carries smoke from the Farmington Canyon Fire. However, it is the invisible gas called ozone that has air Quality Experts concerned.
Ozone levels surpassed federal health standards once this week and have remained high. Each afternoon emissions from vehicles and industry are heated up by the hot sun and cause ozone levels to rise.
Ozone irritates the upper respiratory tract and can damage lung tissue. The division of air quality has issued a health advisory. It warns that people who are sensitive, the very young, the very old and those with asthma, heart or respiratory problems should avoid being outside for long periods of time, especially in the afternoon
In Davis and Weber Counties smoke from the wildfire is adding particulates to the mix and can increase ozone levels too.
Bob Dalley, Mgr., Utah Air Monitoring Center: “We have exceeded the health standards for ozone. At this point we haven't exceeded the levels for particulate levels with the smoke, but smoke has very high pollutant levels."
Environment Officials say the public can help reduce ozone levels. They should drive vehicles less; carpool, ride the bus, or walk. Avoid using gas-powered engines or at least wait until evening to do things like mow the lawn. Fill your gas tank in the evening. Use a non-charcoal barbecue.
Those things can help, but experts say, the danger will likely remain as long as temperatures stay so hot.