INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has issued an Air Quality Action Day on Friday in four regions because high ozone levels are forecast.
In central Indiana, high ozone levels are forecast for the following counties: Marion, Bartholomew, Boone, Brown, Delaware, Hamilton, Hendricks, Howard, Madison and Shelby.
In north central Indiana, the warning covers St. Joseph and Elkhart counties; in northwest Indiana, Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties; and in west central Indiana, Vigo, Carroll and Tippecanoe counties.
Air quality information for all Indiana counties can be found at SmogWatch.IN.gov.
IDEM encourages everyone to help reduce ozone by driving less, not refueling vehicles or using gasoline-powered lawn equipment until after 7 p.m., not idling engines and conserving energy by turning off lights and setting thermostats to 75 degrees or higher.
Anyone sensitive to changes in air quality may be affected when ozone levels are high. Children, the elderly, and anyone with heart or lung conditions should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors.
Ground-level ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather combine with vehicle exhaust, factory emissions, and gasoline vapors, IDEM said. Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties for sensitive populations.