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Poor Air Quality Predicted in Several New England Areas for Tuesday July 8
Release Date: 07/07/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014
BOSTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is predicting unhealthy air quality for Tuesday, July 8, with elevated levels of ground-level ozone predicted for southwest and coastal Connecticut, Southern Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts, including the Cape and the Islands, coastal New Hampshire and coastal Maine. Moderate levels of fine particles are also expected throughout New England for tomorrow.
Ground level ozone, the main ingredient of smog, is unhealthy when average concentrations exceed 0.08 parts per million over an eight-hour period. Ozone monitors in New England have recorded concentrations above this level ten times already this summer (a preliminary list of the unhealthy readings recorded so far this summer can be found at https://www.epa.gov/region01/airquality/o3exceed-03.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, especially sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems.
“Although we've made progress combating smog, New Englanders still face unhealthy air pollution days during the summer,” said Robert W. Varney, administrator of EPA's New England office. “When smog levels are up, residents should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity.”
Ground-level ozone (smog) 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. 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 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 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 at www.epa.gov/ne/aqi. New at this web site this year is an interactive tool that allows individuals to access the most recent air quality index reading for ozone monitors in their area.
People 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.