The Kentucky Energy and Environmental Cabinet has requested an Air Quality Alert be issued for the state of Kentucky. This includes the Lexington area.
Everyone may experience health effects. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Sensitive groups include the elderly, children, persons with asthma or other breathing problems, and persons with lung and heart disease. People in these groups are advised to greatly limit their outdoor activities to reduce their exposure to ozone and particulate pollution.
The best advice is to avoid extended periods of time outdoors until the alert is lifted. If you are in one of the sensitive groups and must be outside, an N95 filter mask will offer some protection from smoke particulates and dust.
At 1pm on Thursday, June 29, 2023, the air quality index is 116.
The AQI color codes (Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple, and Maroon) give folks a clear, concise message about what to expect the air quality to be like on a given day, while the numerical value corresponds to the expected maximum 8-hour average ozone concentration, which is the basis for the Environmental Protection Agency’s ozone standard. For example, if we forecast pollutant levels to yield an AQI of 58 — Code Yellow — then ozone levels can be expected to be closer to the Code Green range than the Code Orange range.
When the AQI is forecasted to be in the Code Orange range or higher, either ozone or particle pollution levels are expected to pose a threat to human health, and appropriate actions to prevent excessive outdoor activity and exertion are recommended for everyone.
The most frequent occurrence of poor air quality episodes across the state comes from high ozone levels during the summer. This is no coincidence, either. Ozone formation favors abundant sunlight, dry air, light winds, and warm temperatures, all of which can occur on a hot summer day.