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Poor Air Quality Predicted in Portions of Southern New England for Both Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18, 2006

Release Date: 06/16/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – June 16, 2006) – Unhealthy air quality is predicted for Saturday, June 17 in northern and central Connecticut and southeastern Massachusetts, including the Cape and the Islands.

On Sunday, June 18 unhealthy air quality will spread into the remainder of Connecticut and Rhode Island, most of Massachusetts except the extreme northwest corner, and much of southern New Hampshire.

“With the first summer temperatures, we are expecting unhealthy air quality in much of southern New England this weekend,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We remind people to take care not to over-exert themselves when air quality is unhealthy.”

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.

In order to help New England residents prepare for poor air quality this summer, EPA and the New England states provide real-time ozone data and air quality forecasts. The real-time air quality data and forecasts are available (

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.

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 has been only one day 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 .)

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 fuel burning at electric powerplants, 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.

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