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Poor Air Quality Predicted in Portions of Connecticut and Massachusetts for Thursday, July 22, 2004
Release Date: 07/21/04
Contact Information: Contact: David Deegan, 617-918-1017
For Immediate Release: July 21, 2004; Release # 04-07-22
BOSTON – Unhealthy air quality is predicted for Thursday, July 22, 2004, with unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone predicted for the Springfield, Mass. area and for western Conn. In addition, unhealthy levels of fine particles are expected in New Haven, Conn., with moderate levels expected throughout the rest of New England. Tomorrow’s forecast of hot weather is also expected to cause the demand for electricity in New England to reach high load levels.
“It is unfortunate that warm weather means unhealthy air quality for New England,” said Robert W. Varney, administrator of EPA's New England office. “When smog levels are up, residents should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity. People can also help limit ozone formation by using public transportation or carpooling during the hottest part of the day.”
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 7 days when ozone monitors in New England have recorded concentrations above this level. Concentrations are also expected to exceed this level today in southwestern and central Connecticut and south coastal Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the Islands. (A preliminary list of the unhealthy readings recorded so far this summer can be found at https://www.epa.gov/region01/airquality/o3exceed-04.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. Exposure to elevated particulate levels can increase the likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravate heart or lung disease, and cause premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly.
When smog levels are up, residents should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity, especially sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems. In addition, when particulate concentrations in the ambient air are elevated, people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should limit prolonged exertion.
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.
Major sources of particulate pollution are factories, power plants, trash incinerators, motor vehicles, construction activity, and fires.
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.
- Use public transportation, or walk whenever possible;
- If you must drive, car pool and combine trips;
- Refuel your car 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 https://www.epa.gov/ne/aqi/index.html.
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.
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Air Quality Index
Air Quality Web Site