Need an Air Action Day

RECEIVED Fri., May 9, 2008

Dear Editor,
    We have an Ozone Action Day program. There are plenty of nonprofits and other organizations using it to promote how "clean" they are. But all the while, our particulate matter 2.5 readings have been climbing. And this small particle pollution may be worse for our cardiovascular health than we ever imagined according to the medical and scientific community. Asthma, lung cancer, heart disease, and cancer are some of the side effects we gain from this problematic pollution.
    I think Austin needs a PM 2.5 Action Day as well. Or at least a more general Air Action Day to include all pollutants. You don't really need specialized equipment to notice high PM 2.5 readings (though the readings are available at the www.airnow.gov website); you can see it with your own eyes. Days that seem hazy and make you feel congested – yep, those are the days when it's high and probably dangerous to your health. Citizens need to educate themselves on the dangers of small particle pollution and learn what they can do to limit their exposure – as well as limit their contribution to the problem by taking steps like reducing energy use to reduce the output of pollution from our power plants; ditching gas-powered mowers, blowers, and diesel engines; or sharing a ride.
Kelly Hayes
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