TUCSON – The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) is issuing an air quality health watch for possible elevated levels of particulate matter in the Green Valley area of Pima County.
Beginning around noon today, sustained wind speeds from the southwest could be 10-15 MPH with gusts to 25 MPH prior to any rain arriving later tonight.
Individuals with heart disease and respiratory disease, children, older adults and active individuals should reduce time outdoors to decrease the amount of particulates they breathe into their lungs. Small particles can travel into the respiratory system and cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath.
Other dust-prone parts of Pima County could also be affected if recent rains did not settle the soil.
On October 6th and 7th, the air quality monitors in the Green Valley area recorded several hours when particulate matter readings were very high. This coincided with winds blowing from the south/southwest.
Particulate matter is made up of tiny specks of soot, dust, and aerosols that are suspended in the air we breathe. Particulate matter can come from disturbed land, dirt roads, construction and mining activity and becomes airborne with high winds. Small particulate matter can also come from combustion sources such as cars, industry, and indoor and outdoor fires.