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State of New Jersey-Department of Environmental Protection-Bureau of Stationary Sources
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Air Quality Awareness Week, May 3-7
Monday, April 27: Ozone: Good Up High, Bad Nearby

Did You Know? Ozone is a gas that is found in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground-level. Ozone found in the upper atmosphere, stratosphere, is good because it protects the earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Ozone near the ground is bad for human, plants, and many materials. Elevated levels occur with the onset of warm weather, typically May 1 through September 30.

 “Bad” ozone (smog) is formed by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from motor vehicle exhaust, industrial facilities and electric utilities, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds. Breathing “bad” ozone can trigger health problems, such as chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. It can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma.

 Actions:  Take these actions to reduce the effects of “bad” ozone:

  • Conserve or reduce energy at home and the office. Participate in your local utilities’ energy conservation programs. This will reduce the pollution from power plants.
  • Keep cars, trucks, gas-powered lawn and garden equipment properly tuned and maintained to   reduce air pollution.
  • Fill your gas tank during the cooler evening hours and be careful not to spill gasoline.
  • Reduce driving. Carpool, use public transportation, walk, or bicycle to reduce ozone pollution,     especially on hot summer days.
  • Use household and garden chemicals wisely. Use paints and solvents with little or no volatile    organic compounds. Be sure to read labels for proper use and disposal.

 For more information, visit

 NJ Rules and Program(s) to Reduce Your Exposure:  New Jersey’s Air Quality;, N.J.A.C. 7:27-24, “Prevention of Air Pollution from Consumer Products”.

Tuesday, April 28: Air Quality Index (AQI) - A Guide to Air Quality and Your Health

Did You Know? The Air Quality Index provides a simple indicator of the daily air quality in your area. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern.

Ground-level ozone, also known as smog, is one of the pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health in New Jersey. Ozone is linked to many adverse health impacts, including asthma attacks, cardiovascular disease, and premature death.

Actions:  On days of unhealthy air quality (an orange or red day), reduce your contribution and exposure to air pollution.

Protect yourself

  • Limit outdoor activities (especially sensitive individuals, such as older adults, children, and people with lung diseases, including asthma and emphysema)
  • Avoid over exertion

Do your part

  • Delay mowing your lawn until the air quality is healthy again
  • Refuel your vehicle at night time, and stop at the click
  • Carpool or use public transportation

For more information, visit

How? Check the AQI. Visit or

Remember The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution.

Resources to help Your Air Quality IQ: For detailed information on New Jersey’s air quality, visit: To receive local air quality forecasts via email or cell phone, sign up at For more information on the AQI, visit To compare air quality between counties for vacation or travels, visit

Wednesday, April 29: Take Action to Reduce Ozone (Also known as Smog)

Did You Know? Smog is harmful to our health and the environment. Ozone damages lung tissue and reduces the lung’s ability to work properly. As the air enters the lungs, ozone irritates the lining of the lungs passageways. The resulting swelling in the lungs makes it more difficult to breathe, in addition to causing muscle spasms and excess mucus. Plants and other ecological systems are also susceptible to smog. Smog can cause discoloration and damage to plants by impacting the natural photosynthesis process. Ozone also damages rubber and other materials.

Actions: Take these actions to reduce smog:

  • Be informed on local air quality and the air pollution reduction services available in your area. Get commuting options from your applicable Transportation Management Associations (TMAs). To find out which TMA your area is affiliated with, go to
  • Drive clean. Electric plug-in vehicles, which are Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), emit no smog-forming emissions, and there are more than 200 public plug-in locations in the State. You can also purchase a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), and Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV), or a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) to minimize your contributions to smog.
  • Reschedule certain yard work and maintenance activities. Minimize yard work that involves power equipment (mowing, edging, mulching, and trimming) on high ozone days, or reschedule that work to take place on good air quality days. Use paint brushes and rollers where possible. If you have to use solvent-based products in the summer, limit their use to the evening and avoid high ozone days. Tightly cap all solvents (paints, gasoline, paint thinners, strippers, and degreasers) and store in a cool place to avoid evaporation.

 For more information, visit

NJ Rules and Programs to Reduce Your Exposure: N.J.A.C. 7:27-19 “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Oxides of Nitrogen”N.J.A.C. 7:27-15 “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Gasoline-Fueled Motor Vehicles”  N.J.A.C. 7:27-24 “Prevention of Air Pollution from Consumer Products”

Thursday, April 30: Vehicles are The Largest Contributors to Smog (Ozone) and Soot


Did You Know? Vehicles contribute more than half of the smog formed in New Jersey. Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is an air pollutant that causes a number of health effects and negatively impacts air quality and the environment. Smog is formed when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react in the presence of sunlight. Smog can irritate any set of lungs, but those with lung-related deficiencies should take extra precautions on bad ozone days. Encouraging smog-reducing practices such as reducing emissions from driving (via use of public transportation, car-pooling, and purchase of efficient cars) will help improve air quality in New Jersey.


  • Do not idle vehicles. Spread the word about the need for smog reduction if you see friends and family members idling unnecessarily.
  • Turn off that engine. Minimize idling of your vehicles, which wastes fuel. Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than turning a vehicle’s engine off and on.
  • Maintain an energy efficient vehicle. Keep vehicle tires properly inflated to increase your gas mileage. Keep vehicles properly tuned to increase engine efficiency. If your vehicle’s check engine light comes on, it could mean that your vehicle’s emission controls are not working properly. Take your vehicle in for service and get it repaired. Make sure to get your vehicles inspected on schedule.
  • Be smart at the fuel pump. When refueling vehicles, ask your gas attendant to stop at the click (when the nozzle clicks off) and not overfill or drip fuel. Tighten gas caps securely. Refuel vehicles and equipment in the evening to reduce evaporation of gasoline, a volatile organic compound capable of forming smog.
  • Develop good driving habits. Combine errands and trips in the vehicle to reduce “cold starts”. Choose a cleaner commute – carpool, use public transportation, bike or walk when possible. Visit and

 For more information, visit

 NJ Rules and Program(s) to Reduce Your Exposure:  N.J.A.C. 7:27-15 “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Gasoline-Fueled Motor Vehicles”, N.J.A.C. 7:27:29 “Low Emission Vehicle Program.”

Friday, May 1: Idling Vehicles Waste Fuel and Cause Unnecessary Air Pollution

Did You Know? When you idle your vehicle, you, as well as the people around you, are breathing in harmful pollutants from the exhaust. Vehicles that idle for only 10 minutes per day waste more than 29 gallons of fuel and around $100 each year.  Eliminate idling whenever you can to protect air quality and save money.  Do not idle to heat or cool the interior of the vehicle. Walk short distances instead of driving the car. Park and go into the fast food restaurant instead of using the drive-thru. Use online banking and avoid driving to the bank or using the drive-thru.

 Remember, an idling vehicle gets 0 miles per gallon.

Myth: Idling for a long time helps the engine warm up.  FALSE
Fact:   A car needs less than 30 seconds of idle time, even during cold weather, before it is ready to go. 

Myth: Idling for a few minutes is more fuel efficient, better for the engine, and saves the starter,           instead of turning the engine on and off.  FALSE
Fact: Only 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than turning the engine on and off.  Excessive idling              causes the car to run inefficiently, leading to an increase in vehicle maintenance and a decrease  in engine life.

Myth: Idling your car for a while is the best way to cool down/warm up the interior.  FALSE
The best way to cool or heat the inside of your car is to operate it at its peak performance                parameter, which is while driving, and not while idling.  It can take more than twice as long to change the temperature by idling instead of driving, and you are polluting your immediate area.

 Visit  and for more information

 Action: Improve your air, and everyone else’s, when you’re behind the wheel. Do not let your car idle. It will save you fuel and money, as well as benefit your health.

 NJ Rules and Program(s) to Reduce Your Exposure: N.J.A.C. 7:27-15 “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Gasoline-Fueled Motor Vehicles”. N.J.A.C. 7:27:29 “Low Emission Vehicle Program.”



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