Poor Air Quality Expected in So. New England Thursday, 7/18; Coastal CT, RI, MA
Boston, Mass. -- Poor air quality, due to ground-level ozone, is expected for coastal Connecticut, Southern Rhode Island, and south coastal Massachusetts, including the Cape and Islands for Thursday. EPA and the New England states provide daily air quality forecasts which are updated regularly. The poor air quality may continue into the weekend.
“On Thursday we will likely have unhealthy air quality in many parts of southern New England,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “On these hot, humid and smoggy days, EPA and the medical community suggest that people limit their strenuous outdoor activity. People can also help reduce emissions of air pollution by driving less and by keeping air conditioning thermostats a few degrees warmer.”
The ozone standard is 0.075 parts per million (ppm) on an 8-hour average basis. Air quality alerts are issued when ozone concentrations exceed, or are predicted to exceed, this level. So far this year, there have been 13 days in New England when ozone concentrations have exceeded the standard.
Exposure to elevated ozone levels can cause breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases, and make people more susceptible to respiratory infection. When ozone levels are elevated, people should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity, especially sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems.
Ground-level ozone forms when volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen (ozone precursors) interact in the presence of strong sunlight. Cars, trucks and buses give off the majority of the pollution create ozone. Gasoline stations, print shops, household products like paints and cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment also add significantly to the ozone problem.
When ozone is forecast to be unhealthy, EPA asks the public to take action. The public can help reduce ozone by:
- Using public transportation, car pooling and/or combining trips;
- Avoiding the use of small gasoline powered engines, such as lawn mowers and tractors, chain saws, power washers, string trimmers and leaf blowers.
- Real-time ozone data, air quality forecasts, sign up for air quality alert emails www.epa.gov/ne/aqi
- Free air quality alert apps for iPhones and Androids: http://www.airnow.gov/
- Preliminary list of this summer’s unhealthy air days: http://www.epa.gov/region1/airquality/o3exceed-13.html