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Poor Air Quality Predicted in New England States for Thursday, Aug. 9
Release Date: 08/08/2001
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1013 Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1042
BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is predicting unhealthy air quality for Thursday, Aug. 9, with elevated levels of ground-level ozone predicted throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts as well as southern and coastal areas of New Hampshire and Maine.
Levels are expected to be especially high – affecting all individuals – in southwestern and central Connecticut, central and eastern Massachusetts and the coastal areas of southern New Hampshire and southern Maine.
Some areas in southern New England may see continuing unhealthy air on Friday as the hot weather continues.
Unhealthy air in New England started on Monday of this week with unhealthy levels recorded in southern Connecticut and southern Maine. On Tuesday, the highest ozone readings of the summer were recorded across southern New England with very unhealthy levels recorded in some areas of coastal Connecticut. On Wednesday, unhealthy reading were recorded in southern and central Connecticut.
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, not including today, there have been 25 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, and corresponding air quality maps for each day, can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/region01/airquality/o3exceed-01.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. The most common symptoms of ozone exposure are coughing, pain when taking a deep breath, and for people with respiratory disease, shortness of breath.
"When smog levels are up, residents should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity,"said Robert W. Varney, administrator of EPA's New England office. "At the levels expected tomorrow, this warning is for all individuals, especially sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems."
Ground-level ozone is formed 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 fuel burning at electric powerplants, particularly on hot days, give off a lot of smog-making pollution. Gas stations, print shops, household products like paints and cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment also add significantly to the ozone smog.
When air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, EPA asks the public to take ozone action. You or your employer can help get rid of ozone-smog by limiting the things you do that make air pollution. For instance:
- use public transportation, or walk whenever possible;
- if you must drive, car pool and combine trips;
- go to the gas station 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;
- avoid using gasoline powered engines, such as lawn mowers, chain saws, leaf blowers on unhealthy air days.
In an effort to better inform New Englanders about real-time ozone levels, the EPA maintains an ozone mapping system, which shows real-time images and daily forecasts of ground-level ozone levels. The daily ozone forecast is available on the EPA's air pollution web site at:
Citizens can also sign up at this web address to receive smog alerts from EPA's New England office. Smog Alert is a free service provided by EPA in conjunction with the New England states which automatically notifies you by e-mail or fax when high concentrations of ground-level ozone are predicted in your area. Smog Alerts are issued to notify interested persons of predicted poor air quality in specific geographical areas of New England throughout the smog season, May through September.