There are many things in the air we breathe that cause pollution. In Dane County we are mostly concerned with ozone and particulate matter.
Ground level ozone impacts our air quality. Breathing it can cause health problems. It is created when exhaust from cars and businesses mixes with other chemicals in the air. This mostly occurs during sunny and warm conditions, like in summer.
Particulate matter is tiny pieces of dust, dirt and other materials in the air we breathe.
Breathing particulate matter can be bad for your heart and lungs.
When there is a lot of it, it can make the air look dirty, hazy, or brown.
Other Air Pollutants
Gas and diesel vehicles produce air pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and 1,3-butadiene.
Wood burning stoves and fireplaces contribute to indoor and outdoor air pollution. They can impact your health and your neighbor's health. Burning wood improperly can reduce air quality in our community .
Air pollutants from places outside of Dane County can also affect our air quality. Many air pollutants can travel long distances. They can cause ozone or fine particulate problems in areas with low amounts of air pollution.
Outdoor Air Quality and Your Health
Breathing in ozone or particulate matter can cause:
shortness of breath
worsening of other health conditions.
Air pollutants can also play a role in causing asthma, other respiratory illnesses, and cardiovascular diseases.
Older adults, children, and people with certain health conditions like asthma, emphysema, and heart and lung conditions should be careful when air quality is poor.
If the air quality index is orange, reduce physical exertion and the amount of time spent outside.
If the air quality index is red or worse, avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. If you use an inhaler, keep it with you.
Improving Air Quality
Whenever possible: walk, bike, skate, bus, or car pool instead of driving.