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Poor Air Quality Predicted in Coastal Areas of Southern New England for Thurs. Aug. 11
Release Date: 08/10/2005
Contact: David Deegan (firstname.lastname@example.org), EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017
For Immediate Release: August 10, 2005; Release # dd050808
BOSTON – Unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone are predicted in southeastern Connecticut, the southern half of Rhode Island, and the south coast of Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the Islands, for tomorrow (Thursday, August 11). The forecast for hot weather tomorrow is also expected to cause the demand for electricity in New England to reach high load levels.
"It is unfortunate that warm weather brings unhealthy air quality to New England," said Robert W. Varney, EPA New England's regional administrator. "We have progressed in our battle against air pollution in New England, but we continue to see days when the air is unhealthy. On those days, EPA and the medical community suggest residents limit strenuous outdoor activity."
Ground level ozone, the main ingredient of smog, is unhealthy when average concentrations exceed 0.08 parts per million over an eight-hour period. So far this year, there have been 19 days when ozone monitors in New England have recorded concentrations above this level. A preliminary list of the unhealthy readings recorded so far this summer can be found at https://www.epa.gov/region1/airquality/o3exceed-05.html.
Exposure to elevated ozone levels can cause serious breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases, and make people more susceptible to respiratory infection. When smog levels are elevated, people should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity, especially sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems.
Ground-level ozone (smog) forms when volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen interact in the presence of sunlight. Cars, trucks and buses give off the majority of the pollution that makes smog. Fossil fuels burning at electric power-plants, particularly on hot days, give off a lot of smog-making pollution. Gasoline stations, print shops, household products like paints and cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment also add significantly to the ozone smog.
When ozone is forecast to be unhealthy, EPA asks the public to take ozone action. The public can help reduce ozone-smog by:
- Using public transportation, car pooling and/or combining trips;
- Refueling cars at night to cut down on gasoline vapors getting into the air during day light hours when the sun can cook the vapors and form ozone;
- Avoiding the use of gasoline powered engines, such as lawn mowers, chain saws, leaf blowers on unhealthy air days.
People can also sign up at this web address to receive air quality alerts from EPA's New England office. The alert program is a free service provided by EPA in conjunction with the New England states which automatically notifies you by e-mail or fax when poor air quality is predicted in your area.
Due to tomorrow's forecast of hot weather, the demand for electricity in New England is forecast to reach high load levels. Given the ozone and high load forecasts, EPA is asking homeowners and employers to make a special effort to reduce their electricity consumption. EPA asks employers to consider asking their employees to dress casually and turn their air conditioning to a higher temperature setting and turn off any unnecessary lights and computers when not in use. Homeowners also are urged to turn their air conditioner to a higher temperature setting, turn off unnecessary lights and appliances, such as televisions, computers, or lights during the day, and to defer household activities like laundry until later hours.
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