2005_08_aqi.jpgThe Times this morning has a story about air pollution in Los Angeles. The city and state have been very successful in reducing pollution from cars –ozone alert days reduced by half, but are growing concerned about the increasing levels of pollution from particulates. Particulates are fine particles, less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that lodge themselves in your lungs and cause all sorts of problems. Particulate pollution is increasing because the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are booming, the ships and trucks that carry their cargo both run on diesel fuel, and, unlike with automobiles, the state of California doesn't have jurisdiction to set pollution limits.

To get us in an LA state of mind, an air stagnation advisory has been issued for today. The primary culprit? Particulates. Ozone levels, while okay right now, may also be a problem later today. The population most at risk from air pollution is typically people with pre-existing heart or lung conditions, the elderly and young children. Ozone affects those people as well as physically fit people. The hemoglobin in your blood loves ozone but the rest of your body doesn't know what to do with it. It's wise to put off any strenuous activities until this evening if you can.

More generally, hot and humid weather continues through Friday. Get thee to Coney Island as it will be considerably cooler along theshore. More enjoyable weather returns for the weekend.

Air Quality Index graphic for Canal St. Post Office monitoring station from the US EPA