BOSTON -- High levels of ground-level ozone is expected to result in poor air quality for interior western Connecticut, including the Connecticut River Valley, and along coastal New Hampshire and Maine, for Tues. Aug. 18, 2015. Much of this same area is also expecting unhealthy air quality today (Aug. 17).
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.
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 14 days in New England when ozone concentrations have exceeded the standard.
Real-time ozone data and air quality forecasts: www.epa.gov/ne/aqi
Preliminary list of this summer’s ozone levels: http://www.epa.gov/region1/airquality/o3exceed-15.html
Sign up for Free air quality alerts: http://www.airnow.gov/