Researchers and officials from Arizona state agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and universities are looking into the use of social networking Web sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to send high-pollution advisories to individuals with asthma, the AP/Arizona Daily Star reports.
Under a proposed notification system, Arizona residents with asthma who register their Zip codes with health officials would receive alerts via text message, Facebook, Twitter or other social media when neighborhood sensors detect high pollution levels in their area that could trigger an asthma attack.
Currently, pollution alerts are disseminated through traditional media. The alerts cover an entire metro area, even though high pollution readings might be limited to a small area.
Patrick Cunningham, interim director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, said he plans to ask EPA for $300,000 to $500,000 to fund the new air quality alert system for the Phoenix area (AP/Arizona Daily Star, 5/5).