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Gov. Gary Herbert urged all Utahns on Thursday to do what they can to reduce air pollution.

"We all ought to be aware," he said. "We ought to be concerned, thinking about ways to reduce pollution."

Proclaiming May as Clean Air Month at a news conference at a home across the street from the Capitol building, he noted that simple steps can add up. Ideas he promoted include:

Updating gas cans made before 2009 • Replacing an old one with a new one prevents 4 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOC) — a problem pollutant in both summer and winter — from getting into the air each year.

Using low-VOC or no-VOC paints • One gallon saves the air from 2.46 pounds of VOCs, according to a fact sheet from the governor's office. After 2014, high-VOC paints will no longer be available in the state, as part of a plan by the Utah air-quality regulators to meet federal limits on winter smog.

Replacing old yard equipment •Getting new, lower-emissions models, including electric-powered lawnmowers and push mowers can help. Each piece of old equipment that is replaced protects the air from 3.1 pounds of VOCs.

The Clean Air Month campaign was started two decades ago by the American Lung Association and has spread to cities and states nationwide. That organization last month gave seven northern Utah counties failing grades for its pollution problems.

But Herbert noted that government and the business community are taking steps to reduce pollution. And he pointed out that state leaders are negotiating with smokestack industries about the ways they can voluntarily reduce air pollution.

The governor said that Utah's economy can continue to grow even as it cuts emissions. Doing so is important to protect health, quality of life and the economy, he said.

"Air quality," he said, "has a lot of ramifications to our economy."

Twitter: @judyfutah