Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director John J. Kim is encouraging Illinois residents to use caution when outdoors as air quality conditions are expected to be in the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” category for Friday, June 2, according to the National Air Quality Index. The Illinois EPA has issued an air quality forecast of “Orange” or “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” for all of Illinois for June 2nd.
Ground-level ozone is formed when emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds from vehicles, power plants, and other industrial sources, react in the presence of sunlight. As a result of current ground-level ozone levels and anticipated weather conditions, the air quality is forecasted to be “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” in many regions today, and statewide tomorrow.
These conditions pose a potential health hazard to sensitive populations, including individuals with respiratory or pulmonary disorders, as well as active children and adults. Sensitive individuals should take special precautions and follow their physician-prescribed regimen. All residents should keep cool and limit physical activity when air quality is low. Possible symptoms related to sensitive groups impacted by low air quality include coughing or shortness of breath.
Businesses and residents are also encouraged to take steps to reduce contributions to air pollution including:
Taking public transit, ridesharing, walking, or biking.
Consolidating errands if driving.
Reducing energy demands.
Avoiding use of gasoline-powered equipment when air quality is elevated.
Because air quality can change from day to day, the Illinois EPA provides daily air quality forecasts based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) for fourteen sectors throughout Illinois. The AQI is a color-coded system that classifies air quality from Good (Green) to Hazardous (Maroon). Air quality forecasts are available at www.airnow.gov. Residents are also encouraged to subscribe to receive FREE air quality forecasts via email or Twitter at http://illinois.enviroflash.info.
U.S. EPA has also published an Air Quality Guide for Ozone at: https://www.airnow.gov/sites/default/files/2023-03/air-quality-guide-for-ozone_0.pdf