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Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 08/31/2010

3rd 'Code Red' air quality day in region

By Washington Post editors

The Washington area is in the midst of its third Code Red air quality day of the year, and officials are suggesting that people limit strenuous outdoor activity.

A Code Red day means the air is unhealthy to breathe. The advisory was issued Tuesday by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

The first Code Red day this year was July 7 and the second was Aug. 11. Air quality is measured on a five-level scale from good to very unhealthy. The Code Red category is considered "unhealthy," one category before "very unhealthy."

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post editors  | August 31, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Maryland, Virginia, Weather  
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Here's a thought: For the people who don't believe in global warming (idiots), do you at least believe in Code Red? Can't we just make reforms on what we put into the atmosphere based on basic safety? Air being unsafe to breathe in a REGION should be cause for concern.

Posted by: fbutler1 | August 31, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Fbutler1--the pollutants that lead to Code Red conditions are ozone pre-cursors, NOx and SOx. Do you see how there's no carbon element in those? I'm all for addressing regional air pollution in the form of ozone. And, it's a whole lot easier to do that, because local controls translate to local benefits. The problem with climate change is that the carbon emitted locally mixes with world-wide emissions. It is hard to get people motivated to change their local behavior when developing nations say they will not do the same (and, why should they slow their race to reach the level of development we have achieved?). Plus, too many people who warn of the dire consequences of climate change still expect us to fight this battle with one arm tied behind our backs--without nuclear power, that is.

Posted by: drb177 | August 31, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

It used to be you could ride buses in this area for free on code red days. Is this still the case? I'm sure the elderly and others could benefit from this information.

Posted by: jojo2008 | August 31, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

drb177 is incorrect. Ozone, aka smog, the cause of the Code Red condition, is formed from volatile organic compounds (hydrocarbons) and oxides of nitrogen in the presence of sunlight. Sulfur oxides have nothing to do with it (they cause other problems). Reducing or eliminating the burning of fossil fuels with address both global warming and smog problems.

Posted by: genetee | August 31, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Three Code Red says is a lot better than it used to be. Still, it's unhealthy for people with pulmonary me.

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 1, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

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