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Fireworks on Independence Day is credited to Founding Father John Adams who wrote to his wife Abigail that this day “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…..and illuminations”.

The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency tends to see a spike in particulate matter (PM) at our monitors during July 4, however they are short-lived and often dissipate quickly. Fireworks create smoke and haze that is classified as a fine particle. These particles can be directly emitted from sources such as forest fires, or they can form when gases emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles react in the air.

The health-based standard for PM is for a 24-hour period and fireworks are not typically a concern for the general public because the occurrence is so quick. However, people with respiratory or cardiac issues are more sensitive and have potential to experience health effects from fireworks. These individuals should be aware that fireworks create fine particulates and consider staying indoors during and after fireworks displays.

Enjoy your local fireworks and if you’d like to see real-time PM readings, visit our website.

PM Chart

Posted by joy.landry  On Jun 28, 2019 at 1:59 PM
  
Bugs! 

Bugs!

The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency, as a public service, conducts pollen and mold counts during the work week. We post the results on our website to help residents track their reactions to local allergens. The Agency has a Rotorod sampler on the roof of our main office. Each morning, one of our Monitoring and Analysis team members collects the sample and literally counts and identifies the various pollen grains and mold spores in the sample. We make use of a high-powered microscope.

Well every once in a while, we find a surprise species! If certain insects flourish in wet, humid conditions, then our recent pollen and mold samples support the theory.

Several samples have revealed insect parts or nearly fully-intact bugs on our pollen and mold sampler in recent weeks. The first photo shows the wings of fruit flies. Can you identify the mystery insect in the second photo?

bug
Here is the insect at 100x magnification.
buggy
And the same insect at 400x magnification.
big bug


Posted by joy.landry  On Jun 20, 2019 at 11:32 AM
  

Ozone season in southwest Ohio officially began on March 1. A cooler than usual April gave waydsafas to a taste of summer-like weather during late May. However, those warmer temperatures and sunshine were accompanied by winds, clouds, and/or rain showers that kept the atmosphere in flux. This prevented ozone from building to concentrations that would be considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. For the first time since 2015, our region enjoyed the month of May with no Air Quality Advisories.

The Agency issues an Air Quality Advisory when unhealthy levels of ozone, or particulate matter, are expected. You can receive email notifications of Air Quality Advisories by subscribing to Enviroflash.

Posted by joy.landry  On May 31, 2019 at 11:30 AM
  

The Agency provides pollen and mold counts as a public service each year from February through November. Counts are performed Monday through Friday. The sampler is located at the Agency’s office and it captures a sample one minute in each ten minutes for a 24-hour period. Residents who suffer from allergies may find the counts helpful for tracking symptoms that correspond with the prevalent allergens of that day.

April has seen several "Very High" pollen days. To date, April 23 is the spike day with a pollen count of 3450, driven by the pollination of oak trees (2018). You can find daily pollen counts at SouthwestOhioAir.org

oak pollen
Microscopic view of a single grain of oak pollen

Posted by joy.landry  On Apr 29, 2019 at 4:10 PM
  
Congratulations to Summit Country Day for going idle-free. Thanks to the leadership of several students, their campus now has several "Idle Free Zone" signs that remind parents, staff, visitors, and students to turn of their engines when they arrive at school. Reducing unnecessary vehicle emissions can help improve air quality on campus. 

You can order our free "Idle-Free Zone" signs by visiting SouthwestOhioAir.org.
summit


Posted by joy.landry  On Apr 26, 2019 at 12:31 PM