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Code Orange Smog Alert for Metro Atlanta Issued Thursday May 11th

A Code Orange Smog Alert — the first alert of the season — was issued Thursday morning, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Officials issued an alert for high ozone concentrations in metro counties; that means ground-level ozone levels may reach unhealthy levels. People who are sensitive to air quality,  such as children, older adults and people with heart and lung disease, might be affected by the elevated levels. Those individuals are encouraged to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors and to watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.

How to Reduce Smog


Smog and high ozone concentrations is caused by three main pollutants:

  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOXs): 99% are man-made mostly from vehicle emissions, and the concentration becomes worse with stagnant traffic.
  • Particulate Matter/Particle Pollution: Microscopic particles in the air which come from vehicle emissions, trees, construction debris, forest fires and more.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Comes from anything that smells like aerosols, perfumes, etc., or are naturally occurring from pine trees. Also generated from paint, chemicals, solvents, and (you guessed it) vehicle emissions.


When combined with heat and sunlight, this pollution creates ground level ozone. And when ground level ozone is mixed with particulate matter, we get our dreaded foe: Smog.


There are many ways you can be a part of the solution to reduce smog and make our air healthier:

-        Carpooling: It's take your friends to work day, every day!

-        Vanpooling: Want to fight for cup holder places instead of parking spaces?

-        Transit: Don't text and drive, text and ride!

-        Telework: Avoid traffic completely by working from home.

-        Compressed Work Weeks/Flex Time: If you can't change how you get to work, change when you get to work.

-        Bike/Walk: Human-powered commuting means better health and no air pollution.


Fewer cars on the roads means fewer emissions and ultimately better air quality for all Atlantans. Find the closest organization based on where you work to help you get started.


About Air Quality


Today’s AQI was 76 at 8:50am


“Good” AQI is 0 to 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.

“Moderate” AQI is 51 to 100. Air quality is acceptable. For some pollutants, there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.


“Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” AQI is 101 to 150. Although the general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.


“Unhealthy” AQI is 151 to 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.


“Very Unhealthy” is AQI is 201 to 300. This would trigger a health alert signifying that everyone may experience more serious health effects.


“Hazardous” AQI is greater than 300. This would trigger a health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

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