Air quality alert issued for Nashville for Tuesday - WSMV Channel 4

Air quality alert issued for Nashville for Tuesday

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

It's only May, but weather more akin to July is prompting the Metro Public Health Department to issue an air quality alert for Tuesday.

Triggering the alert is an expected rise in ozone levels.

"When we hear about ozone in the atmosphere, that's a good thing. It blocks the harmful rays of the sun. What we're focusing on is the ground level, that ground level ozone is created when you have car exhausts, heat and sunlight. All these three mixed together, that's what can cause ozone to develop," said health department spokesman Brian Todd.

People most affected by elevated particle pollution or ozone are those with heart or lung disease, including asthma, older adults, and children.

Ozone levels build throughout the day, reaching their highest levels by early afternoon.

"The ozone levels are typically the highest between 2 and 7 p.m. So it's not a good time to go out and run a half marathon or do some strenuous exercise in the yard, for instance," Todd said.

While children are in the high risk category, Channel 4 meteorologist Dan Thomas recommends that parents use common sense when it comes to outdoor exposure for their children.

"Recess time is usually limited to 15 or 30 minutes, that should be fine, but you don't want your kids in a school to play outdoors for hours on end tomorrow, because kids can get affected by it," Thomas said.

The air quality alert has been issued for Metro Nashville, Davidson County, which means the further away from Nashville, the cleaner the air will be.

"Once you get away from Nashville, over toward west of Dickson County, over toward Cookeville and Southern Kentucky, far south Middle Tennessee, the effects will be less significant. You have a lot of forest areas over there, and it should not be a big deal," Thomas said.

Metro Public Health recommends to lose the car keys, either use public transportation or share a ride, combine errands, skip the drive-thru, limits engine idling, avoid using gas powered yard equipment, and save the grilling out, for another day. 

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