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Heatwave Means Poor Air Quality Expected for Southern Coastal New England and Coastal Maine on Tuesday, June 25

Release Date: 06/24/2013
Contact Information: Dave Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – June 24, 2013) – Poor air quality, due to ground-level ozone, is expected for coastal Connecticut, Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, including the Cape and Islands, and coastal Maine from Acadia National Park southward on Tuesday. EPA and the New England states provide daily air quality forecasts at www.epa.gov/ne/aqi. Please check the web site for updates.

“We predict that Tuesday will be an unhealthy air quality day in parts of New England,” said Curt Spalding, 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.”

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 7 days in New England when ozone concentrations have exceeded the standard. (A preliminary list of this summer’s unhealthy readings can be found at http://www.epa.gov/region1/airquality/o3exceed-13.html)

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. Electrical generating stations, cars, trucks, and buses give off the majority of the pollution which creates 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:

- Reducing electrical demand by turning air conditioners to a higher temperature setting, turning off unnecessary lights and appliances, such as televisions, computers, or lights during the day, and to deferring household activities like laundry until later hours;

- Using public transportation, car pooling and/or combining trips; and

- Avoiding the use of small gasoline powered engines, such as lawn mowers and tractors, chain saws, power washers, string trimmers and leaf blowers.

EPA and the New England states provide real-time ozone data and air quality forecasts at www.epa.gov/ne/aqi. This website can also be used to sign up to receive free air quality alerts by e-mail when poor air quality is predicted for a particular area. National real-time air quality data from AirNow is also available on smart phones with free iPhone and Android apps, available for download at http://www.airnow.gov/.

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