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Smog season begins in the Bay Area

Spare the Air smog season officially began Monday, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The announcement reminds residents to daily check air quality reports and prepare for Spare the Air alerts and advisories due to unhealthy ozone pollution.

The Spare the Air campaign encourages residents to drive less and look for ways to change or eliminate their commutes to help reduce smog and traffic. Commuter vehicles collectively make for the largest impact on smog and greenhouse gasses in the Bay Area, the air district said.

During the warmer weather months, typically from April through October, the air district issues Spare the Air alerts when ozone pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels that exceed the federal health-based standard.

The impacts of ozone pollution are considered most severe for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. Ozone can cause throat irritation, congestion and chest pain, and also can trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema.

When a Spare the Air alert is called, residents are recommended to limit outdoor exercise in the late afternoon, which is when ozone concentrations are typically highest.

Residents can keep track of Spare the Air alerts and advisories via text or email. Sign up for text alerts by texting the word “START” to 817-57 or register for email AirAlerts at www.sparetheair.org. Updates are also posted on Facebook and Twitter and available on the Spare the Air iPhone or Android app.

You can reach Staff Writer Kaylee Tornay at 707-521-5250 or kaylee.tornay@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ka_tornay.

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