Season's first ozone alert in effect Friday

Posted April 17, 2008 4:10 p.m. EDT
Updated April 30, 2008 6:00 p.m. EDT

— State air-quality officials have issued the first Code Orange alert of 2008 for the Triangle, Fayetteville and Charlotte areas for Friday.

Forecasters have predicted conditions likely to produce unhealthy air for sensitive groups, including children and the elderly, people who work outdoors and those with respiratory problems.

The air pollution forecast for Friday predicts that ozone levels will exceed the new federal standard of 0.075 parts per million averaged over eight hours. High ozone levels can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with respiratory problems, and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals.

Ozone is a highly reactive form of oxygen, and high levels generally occur on hot, sunny days with stagnant air, when pollutants from vehicle exhaust and manufacturing plants react in the lower atmosphere.