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Poor Air Quality Predicted in Portions of New England for Saturday, August 13 - Coastal and Eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, and most of Massachusetts
Release Date: 08/12/2005
Contact: David Deegan (firstname.lastname@example.org), EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017
For Immediate Release: August 12, 2005; Release # dd050811
BOSTON – Unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone are predicted in coastal and eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, and most of Massachusetts, except the south coast, Cape Cod and the Islands, for tomorrow (Saturday, August 13). Also, moderate levels of fine particles are expected in these areas on Saturday. Air quality conditions are likely to improve on Sunday when a cold front is expected to move through the area.
“We expect tomorrow to be another unhealthy air quality day” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The public can help reduce air pollution by using public transportation and carpooling and they can protect their health by limiting strenuous outdoor activity on poor air quality days.”
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 21 days when ozone monitors in New England have recorded concentrations above this level. By comparison, there were 12 and 13 unhealthy days as of today’s date during the summers of 2003 and 2004, respectively. 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. 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 elevated, people 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 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.
Major sources of particulate pollution are factories, power plants, trash incinerators, motor vehicles, construction activity, and fires.
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.