PRESS RELEASE | Bad Air Quality Hitting the Valley Early This Holiday Season

PHOENIX (November 29, 2018) – A monitor in Phoenix hit an Air Quality Index of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups for PM-2.5 on Thanksgiving, which is the earliest occurrence since current record keeping began in 2010. What does this mean? Bad air quality is hitting the Valley early this year.

Air Quality Index Levels | View >

PM-2.5 is made up of tiny specks of particulate matter 2.5 microns or less. This time of year, much of the PM-2.5 comes from burning wood in backyard fire pits and from indoor or outdoor fireplaces. Even fireworks around the New Year can be a major contributor. Air quality on New Year’s Day 2018 spiked to Very Unhealthy levels, which is the highest number in current records for the Phoenix area.

2018 Observed Air Quality PM-2.5 Data | View >

Bad air quality in Maricopa County is common this time of year. During the early winter, there are often periods of calm weather with lots of sunshine and light winds. While this makes for beautiful hikes and bicycles rides, air pollution starts to build up. We need rain to help clear the air and wind to disperse the pollution. Without those weather factors, all that smoke from recreational fires and fireworks tends to sit over the Valley and can have negative impacts on the health of you and your family.

Compared to the average thickness of a single strand of human hair, PM-2.5 is 30 times smaller. These tiny particles lodge deep into the lungs and even get into the bloodstream. Their presence can trigger a variety of health issues, including:

  • Aggravated asthma and other respiratory diseases
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Decreased lung function
  • Nonfatal heart attacks
  • Premature death in people with heart or lung disease

Children, older adults and people with heart or lung diseases are especially vulnerable the impacts of breathing PM-2.5.

How can you help?

  • Stay informed! Check the Phoenix Air Quality Hourly Forecast | View >
  • Use gas or electric instead of burning wood
  • Limit the lighting of fireworks
  • Ride transit, carpool or telework
  • Eliminate all unnecessary driving and/or combine trips

Want to exchange that wood fire pit for a new propane one? The Maricopa County Air Quality Department is offering Valley residents $75 towards the purchase of a new propane fire pit. Apply Today! | View Offer >


ADEQ Public Information Officer | 602-771-2215 (office) | 602-540-8072 (cell) | E-mail >