BALTIMORE, MD (July 17, 2013) – With some of the hottest weather of the summer increasing the potential for bad air quality, the Maryland Department of the Environment reminds residents to take steps to protect their health and the air we breathe.

The air quality forecast for today through Friday for metropolitan Baltimore, the Maryland portion of metropolitan Washington and Maryland’s Eastern Shore is “Code Orange.” A Code Orange forecast indicates that air quality is likely to be unhealthy for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly and adults with respiratory and heart ailments. Those groups should limit time outside.

To protect the air – and, in turn, everyone’s health – on bad air days you should: avoid or reduce driving (use public transportation, carpool or telework); reduce car idling; refuel your car after dusk; use a propane grill instead of charcoal; avoid mowing the lawn or use an electric mower; and delay painting and avoid using aerosol products.   

So far in 2013, there have been three Code Orange Days and no Code Red days in the Baltimore region. In the Maryland portion of the metropolitan Washington region, there has been one Code Orange day and no Code Red days. Clean Air Partners’ Air Quality Action Guide includes an explanation of air quality ratings, from Code Green for good air quality to Code Purple for very unhealthy air.

The quality of the air across Maryland continues to show measurable signs of improvement, the Maryland Department of the Environment's review of preliminary monitoring results from 2012 shows. Hot weather is a significant factor in the formation of the pollutant ground-level ozone, but the ratio of bad air days to temperature has declined over the years in Maryland.

For air quality forecasts and information on air quality, go to MDE’s website or to, where you can sign up to receive emailed air quality alerts. Clean Air Partners also offers a free smart phone app to receive air quality forecasts. You can also call MDE’s air quality hotline at 410-537-3247.