New Virginia Law Bans Smoking in Car

A Virginia law went into effect July 1 banning smoking in a car with a child under 8 years old.  The law only affects lighted smoking equipment, so doesn’t appear to cover vaping, and is only a secondary offense.  So, to be charged, one has to be pulled over for a second, primary offense, such as speeding.

 

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Lead Safe Roanoke

We wanted to share some information from our friends at Lead Safe Roanoke about their free lead abatement program:


Free!

The City of Roanoke’s Lead Safe Roanoke Program performs improvements to remove lead-based paint hazards from owner-occupied and rental homes. These improvements may include new windows, gutters, paint, and much more!

Lead-based paint poisoning is harmful to both children and adults; however, children are especially at risk for lead poisoning. Therefore, if you meet all of the requirements below you are encouraged to take part in this exciting and FREE program:

  • Your house must have been built before 1978.
  • You must have a child under the age of 6 years living in or frequently visiting the home.
  • You must meet income guidelines.

 

Call 540-853-5682 today to see if you qualify or visit us at

www.roanokeva.gov/leadsafe

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Smog and Blood Pressure

U.S. News and World Report reports that there are increasing connections between smog – the type of pollution we deal with most in the Roanoke Valley – and high blood pressure.  Meaning it’s not just your lungs that are struggling when it gets hazy outside – your heart may be working harder as well:

From the article:

In the short term, he noted, a few days of increased air pollution could lead to more emergency hospital visits due to temporary spikes in blood pressure. In the long term, those living with consistently high levels of air pollution could end up with chronically high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke and heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide. And high blood pressure itself is associated with about 17 percent of fatalities globally, the study authors pointed out.

It is urgent to take more actions to protect our environment and clean the air quality,” said Liu.

Follow the link above for the full article.

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Air Quality Data Updated for June

June air quality data has been updated for the Roanoke Valley.  Find the current spreadsheet here.

AQI-201606

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Code Yellow Air Quality Forecast

Via Virginia DEQ:

Air quality forecasts for June 14, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kristen Stumpf, (804) 698-4414 or Mike Kiss, (804) 698-4460

Air quality forecasts for June 14, 2016

More detailed information is available on the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality web site at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityForecasting.aspx

Hampton Roads
Color Code: Yellow – Moderate air quality
Primary Pollutant: Ozone

Richmond
Color Code: Yellow – Moderate air quality
Primary Pollutant: Ozone

Roanoke
Color Code: Yellow – Moderate air quality
Primary Pollutant: Ozone

Winchester
Color Code: Green – Good air quality
Primary Pollutant: Ozone

Health Information
Code Orange: Active children, teenagers, adults, and people with heart or lung disease (including asthma) should limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities.

Code Red: Active children, teenagers, and adults should limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities. People unusually sensitive to air pollution, especially those with heart or lung disease (including asthma), should avoid strenuous outdoor activities.

Code Purple: Active children, teenagers, and adults should avoid prolonged strenuous outdoor activities. People unusually sensitive to air pollution, especially those with heart or lung disease (including asthma), and older adults should avoid all outdoor strenuous activities.

High air pollution levels can impair breathing, cause lung damage, coughing and eye irritation and put extra strain on the heart. Air pollution also can aggravate asthma, bronchitis or emphysema.

Kristen Stumpf
Meteorologist
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: (804) 698-4414
Work Email: Kristen.Stumpf@deq.virginia.gov
Air Quality Forecast Webpage:
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityForecasting.aspx
Office of Air Quality Assessments Webpage:
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityAssessments.aspx

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High Pollen Alert for Roanoke

Weather.com has updated their website design and has provided some additional (or simply previously harder-to-find) pollen data.

The forecast for the Roanoke region for today and tomorrow is showing high levels of pollen – so keep that in mind if you suffer from allergies or allergy-triggered asthma.

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Take the Clean Commute Challenge

CCC_Times-Sticky-NoteOne of the things anyone can do to improve air quality in the Roanoke Valley is to take fewer vehicle trips.  Driving less means fewer emissions, fewer particulates, and fewer of the precursor pollutants that can lead to ozone pollution.

In fact, May is the traditional start of the summer ozone season, so it’s a particularly good time to start paying attention to what the community can do to keep the air clean.

The RIDE Solutions Clean Commute Challenge is one way to do this. Take the pledge to use an alternative mode at least ONE day in May – bike, walk, take the bus, carpool, or telecommute instead of driving alone – and you’ll not only help clean the valley’s air, but you’ll also earn chances to win prizes – including FloydFest passes!

Visit www.ridesolutions.org/cleancommute to take the pledge.

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Note on 4/19 Air Quality

I’m sharing this note from Mark Barker, who monitors our regional air quality data:

Roanoke Valley ozone was on the edge of an orange day on Tuesday.   According to EPA Daily AQI map we did get to AQI of 101 for an orange day.   However,  my calculation shows that we were just under at 100.   The last regs I read was that the average is NOT rounded up.  Will wait for the “official” word on Tuesday.

airquality.png

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Air Quality Data Updated for March

Our air quality data tracking sheet has been updated with March data.  You can find it here, with a summary below.

Of note:  The area’s particulate matter (PM 2.5) monitor has been out of commission since March 9th and has been sent to Richmond for repairs.

AQI-201603

 

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VADEQ to Resume Ozone Monitoring

From the Virginia DEQ:

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Will Resume Ozone Air Quality Forecasts via E-mail on Monday, April 18th

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Will Resume Ozone Air Quality Forecasts via E-mail on Monday, April 18th

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will resume ground-level ozone air quality forecasts in addition to the currently-issued particle pollution forecasts via e-mail on Monday, April 18th. The ozone forecasts will continue until mid-to-late September. Air quality forecasts will be issued for Roanoke, Hampton Roads, Winchester and Richmond. Forecasts will be issued through mid-to-late September. If you know someone else who would like to receive these forecasts, please have them sign up to receive the daily forecasts and/or air quality health alerts at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsFeeds.aspx. Northern Virginia air quality forecasts are sent out from Clean Air Partners via http://www.cleanairpartners.net/airalert.cfm.

DEQ will issue forecasts for the following day by 3:10 pm EDT. An Air Quality Health Advisory will be issued for any region of Virginia where unhealthy levels occur. Color-coded air quality forecasts and the current Air Quality Index (AQI) for Roanoke, Hampton Roads, Winchester, Richmond and Northern Virginia area will be available on the DEQ web site at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityForecasting.aspx. Air quality forecasts are also available via an RSS feed at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/lists/?action=rss_list&id=16 and via the EPA AIRNow web site at http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_state&stateid=48&tab=0. Additionally, air quality health alerts are available via an RSS feed at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/lists/?action=rss_list&id=15. Generally, our qualitative forecast accuracy is around 80 percent correct in each location.

The AQI may peak well after 6:00 pm in most areas when ozone is the dominant pollutant. It may peak overnight or in the early morning hours in the Shenandoah National Park. The particle pollution AQI is usually higher than the ozone AQI in the morning hours due to the diurnal pattern of ozone formation. Particle pollution levels may stay elevated all day and/or night whereas ozone levels peak in the afternoon and early evening hours. Animated air quality maps for “North Carolina/Virginia” will be found at http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_state&stateid=48&tab=0. These maps are updated hourly. Maps such as these are also available from weather service data providers such as WSI, Weather Central Inc., and others for on-air use. Television stations are urged to use the air quality maps regularly in conjunction with the DEQ air quality forecasts to inform the public about daily air quality in their area.

DEQ uses a color-code forecast scheme:

Code Green indicates good air quality is expected the following day with either PM2.5 or ozone in the healthy range. Air quality is considered satisfactory with little or no risk.
Code Yellow indicates moderate air quality is expected the following day with either PM2.5 or ozone in the moderate range. Unusually sensitive people should consider limiting or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities.

Please note: An Air Quality Action Day will begin at the Code Orange level. A Code Orange Air Quality Action Day indicates unhealthy-for-sensitive-groups air quality is expected the following day. Active children and adults and people with cardio or respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema should limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities.

A Code Red Air Quality Action Day indicates unhealthy air quality is expected the following day. Active children and adults, and people with cardio or respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema should avoid prolonged strenuous outdoor activities. Everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged strenuous outdoor activities.
A Code Purple Air Quality Action Day indicates very unhealthy air quality is expected the following day. Active children and adults, people unusually sensitive to air pollution, especially those with heart or lung disease (including asthma), and older adults should avoid all outdoor strenuous activities. Everyone else should limit strenuous outdoor activities.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact Bill Hayden, Communications Manager, DEQ Public Information and Outreach at William.Hayden@deq.virginia.gov or (804) 698-4447, Mike Kiss, DEQ Meteorologist at Michael.Kiss@deq.virginia.gov or (804) 698-4460, Kristen Stumpf, DEQ Meteorologist at Kristen.Stumpf@deq.virginia.gov or (804) 698-4414, or me, Dan Salkovitz, DEQ Meteorologist at Daniel.Salkovitz@deq.virginia.gov or (804) 698-4404 (usually 6:30 am-3:15 pm).

Dan Salkovitz
Meteorologist
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218
Street address: 629 E. Main St., 8th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 698-4404 Fax: (804) 698-4510
Phone toll-free in Virginia: (1-800) 592-5482 ext. 4404
Work e-mail: Daniel.Salkovitz@deq.virginia.gov
Air Quality Forecast Webpage:
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityForecasting.aspx
Office of Air Quality Assessments Webpage:
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityAssessments.aspx

DEQ mailing lists are an opt-in service from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. If you have received this message in error, or would like to be removed from or added to any of our mailing lists, you can change your subscription status on our website at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsFeeds.aspx.
You can read the archives for this list online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/lists/?action=show_list&id=15.
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