Another orange/yellow ozone day ahead

“The evidence,” reads a trial brief prepared by the Tennessee Valley Authority, “will establish that North Carolina is not suffering any significant harm to its air quality — as required to establish a nuisance — no matter what the source of pollution in the State’s air.” That section of the 88-page brief, titled “North Carolina is Not Suffering Significant Harm to its Air Quality,” goes on to reference public announcements of improved air quality in North Carolina.

As the federal trial in the case of N.C. v. TVA continues at the U.S. District Court in downtown Asheville, with experts battling over whether or not TVA’s air pollution has created a public nuisance in our state, the backdrop is smoggy. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the ozone forecast for Asheville’s ridge tops is orange; in the valleys, it’s yellow — and neither is good. An orange day essentially means that active children and adults — especially people with asthma or other respiratory problems — should limit their outdoor exertion. A yellow day means that unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion, according to the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency. And in Buncombe County, no open burning is allowed at this time.

— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor

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4 thoughts on “Another orange/yellow ozone day ahead

  1. Something I’ve been wondering about on these ‘bad air days.’… How is going inside going to help? Unless your house is hermetically sealed from the outside world, filtering all your air, wouldn’t the inside be just as bad?

  2. Jim Shura

    In-line electronic air filter. If you have AC and use it, you are crazy not to have one of these too.

    When I lived in the DC suburbs, the summer smog just about killed me. I’d get home from my commute and feel better in 10 minutes.

  3. Keith Bamberger

    Answering Mr. Posnideus’ question.
    The recent and most common air pollutant in Western North Carolina is ground level ozone. It is a secondary pollutant formed when fuel exhaust mixes in sunlight and heat about 75 degrees. Ozone is a temporary molecule that irritates the lungs, throat, and eyes. The good news is both the affects and ozone molecule are temporary. The ozone molecules do not exist for long without the sunlight, so being indoors can help. The bad news is the temporary affects can include asthma attacks, more intense allergies, and hospitalization.

    If the forecast reference particle pollution being inside helps due to AC filters, but the particles still get inside. It is best to limit strenuous activity – reducing the amount of air that you breathe in.

    Keith Bamberger, Information and Communication Specialist, NC Division of Air Quality
    828-296-4500

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