Fall temperatures bring air quality problems

CINCINNATI -- Summer officially ends this weekend, and as if on cue, temperatures in the Tri-State are expected to drop.

But with a drop in temperatures comes a whole new set of air quality problems.  

With cooler air on the way, new pollutants are moving in.

Cooler nights cause poor air quality as warmer air rises, capping off the atmosphere and blocking pollutants from escaping. Then, when people burn fires to stay warm at night, more pollutants become trapped.

According to the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency, you can help track the air quality in your neighborhood with citizen air sampling program.

“The program started in 1999, and it was a way for us to determine what’s in the air that residents are breathing -- and also because odors are very subjective and they come and go,” said Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency supervisor Kerri Castlen.

If there is a strange odor in your area and you’re concerned, Castlen said the public can contact the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency to get a six liter canister and fill it with air when the odor is present.

“When the sample is completed, you turn the green valve and then call the 24-hour complaint hot line and arrange for an inspector to come and start an investigation,” Castlen said.

There are many other tools that are used by the agency to measure air quality, but Castlen said the public is the best bet to finding out what’s really going on.

“It’s been very successful,” Castlen said. “We take canister samples throughout southwest Ohio every year and they help us to answer questions about air quality, localized in particular communities and it’s a way for us to…teach people about the air quality in their neighborhoods.”

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