What is the Spare the Air Program by elizabethberkley


									What Teachers Should Know on a Spare the Air Day
On a Spare the Air day, air pollution concentrations don’t really begin to rise until around noon. For
teachers with younger children who go outside to play, the children can be allowed out in the morning,
but should be kept inside when pollution levels are highest after 1pm or so. This is particularly true for
children with respiratory ailments. Similar precautions should be taken for student athletes and others
involved in rigorous activities out of doors.

Children can learn more about air pollution, the Spare the Air program, and Kaila and the Clean Air Crew by visiting
the kid’s page of the www.sparetheair.org website.

What Can You Do To Spare the Air?
Everyone can play an important role in the Spare the Air campaign. Our cumulative efforts can go a long way towards
improving air quality on smoggy days and everyday. Here’s what you can do to Spare the Air...

    -   Leave your car at home on Spare the Air days. Try transit, carpooling, walking or biking to work instead.
    -   Avoid using consumer spray products like hairspray and household cleaners. These products add about
        45 tons of volatile organic compounds to our air each day. Instead of sprays, try solids, gels, or liquids.
    -   Refuel your car after the sun has gone down — and DON’T top off the tank. The escaping vapors and
        splash create tons of air pollution.
    -   Don’t use gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers particularly on those days. This equipment adds
        12 tons of pollutants to the Bay Area each day.
    -   Ignite your barbecue with an electric or chimney starter only. Each day, charcoal lighter fluid adds .6
        tons of air pollution.

These are just some of the things you can do. For more information visit www.sparetheair.org.

What is the Spare the Air Program?
Spare the Air – a program of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District – notifies schools, residents and employers
when air pollution is expected to reach unhealthy levels and informs them of measures they can take to avoid polluting
activities. The Bay Area’s program began in 1991 and was one of the first of its kind in the country. The summertime
air pollution season generally runs from June through mid-October.

How Does Air Pollution Affect People?
Air pollution is a public health issue that affects us all. However, about 50% of us are especially affected by summer-
time ozone. High ozone levels contribute to respiratory problems such as asthma, shortness of breath, pain during
deep breaths (especially when exercising outdoors), bronchitis, coughing and wheezing. The populations most
susceptible to ozone’s harmful effects are children, whose lungs are still developing, seniors, and people with pre-
existing respiratory problems.

What Creates Smog?
Cars (and light trucks) are the number one source of smog in the Bay Area. More than 6.5 million people live in the
Bay Area, driving 5 million cars 140 million miles a day. This produces about 300 tons a day, or about 50% of our air
pollution. In addition to encouraging movement away from the single occupancy vehicle, the Spare the Air program
educates residents that there are many other activities that also contribute to air pollution. Personal care products,
such as hair spray, bug spray and other aerosols add volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to our air – this is the other
main pollution component of ozone. Other sources of air pollution include gas-powered lawn and garden equipment
adding another 12 tons per day; recreational boats, 17 tons; and oil-based paints, 1.5 tons. While there are many
sources of pollution, the Spare the Air program focuses on those things that individuals can do to help alleviate this
critical problem.

Here’s How the Program Works
The day before a Spare the Air day, when the Air District predicts that ozone levels for the next day will violate federal
health standards, a notice is faxed out around 1pm to the school Spare the Air coordinator. The coordinator will then
turn around and notify all the teachers.

                                    Let's all work together for healthy air!

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