Green, Yellow, Red… Not just for stoplights!

June 20, 2012

Earlier this month, following our June theme of “Air Quality”, we tweeted a few lesser-known facts about air quality and how it relates to your lung health. Little attention is given to air quality in our day to day lives, given that the hazardous particles such as ozone are relatively invisible unless it’s a particularly hazy day. Even when you can’t see it, the danger is there.

The American Lung Association provides a “State of the Air” Report that has incredible information regarding the air and your health. On a local level at the NC Department of Natural Resources, much emphasis is placed on reaching out to the public to help provide a better understanding of Air Quality Forecasts!

A simple color scale is provided that can easily help you judge for yourself whether or not you should take your evening jog. Most people don’t realize that peak air pollution actually occurs in the late afternoon when the day is warmest. Keep in mind that a green indication means “safe”, yellow means “take it easy outside”, orange is “unsafe for sensitive populations” (i.e: young children, elderly, those who suffer from asthma), while red indicates that you should probably stay inside. The color to be most weary of? Surprise- purple! Yes, although not a familiar “red light” indicator, purple is the most dangerous of the air pollution levels.

So check the forecasts. It’s an easy way for you to know whether or not to take your afternoon bike ride and to pay attention to what you’re breathing into your body!