Air Pollution Action Days

Ground-level ozone smog (smog) and fine particulate matter (soot) pollution irritate the airways and can cause breathing problems for anyone, but especially people living with lung disease.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors air pollution through a color-coded system. When air quality is deemed “unhealthy” (orange or red on the chart below) several days in a row, the EPA calls Air Pollution Action Days to alert people to take precautions. Air Pollution Action Days are common on hot, sunny days with little wind, because on these days air pollution stays closer to the ground.

On Air Pollution Action Days, people in sensitive groups such as children, the elderly and people with lung disease are encouraged to take precautions, including:
  • limit strenuous activity
  • limit outdoor activity
  • stay cool and comfortable – preferably in an air-conditioned area
  • drink plenty of water

It is also important for everyone to limit their polluting activities on days with unhealthy air quality. People can help limit pollution levels by not using gas-powered engines (ex. lawnmowers and other lawn equipment), carpooling or using public transit, and reducing electricity use.

Finally, be sure to check in on family, friends and neighbors who may be extra sensitive to air pollution, including children, seniors and people living with lung disease. Encourage them to take it easy, stay cool and comfortable and keep any medications such as quick-relief inhalers nearby.

Stay Informed

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sponsors EnviroFlash alerts to keep you informed when poor air quality is predicted. You can check air quality a number of ways:

You can also stay informed about current local air pollution conditions by contacting the city of Chicago or Cook County Department of Environmental Control air pollution hotline.
  • City of Chicago: (312) 744-4365 (City only)
  • Cook County: (708) 865-6320 (Metro area)

Air Wuality Indez


For more information, contact Brian Urbaszewski:
Email Brian
(312) 628-0245