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Poor Air Quality Predicted in Portions of New England for Friday, July 23, 2004 Southern Connecticut, Coastal Areas North of Boston, Coastal Southern Maine, Southern New Hampshire

Release Date: 07/22/04
Contact Information: Contact: David Deegan, EPA New England Press Office, 617-918-1017

For Immediate Release: July 22, 2004; Release # 04-07-23

BOSTON – Unhealthy air quality is predicted for Friday, July 23, 2004, with unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone predicted for south coastal Maine, southern New Hampshire, Massachusetts’ areas north of Boston and southern Connecticut. 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.

“We are expecting Friday to be another unhealthy air quality day in New England,” said Robert W. Varney, administrator of EPA's New England office. “On these days, EPA and the medical community suggest that people limit their strenuous outdoor activity. Also, we can all help to limit the formation of ozone by using public transportation or carpooling.”

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 the Springfield, Mass. area and in western Connecticut. (A preliminary list of the unhealthy readings recorded so far this summer can be found at

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. For instance:

    • 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.
Additionally, 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.

Employers can help reduce energy demand by:
    • Asking their employees to dress casually;
    • Turn air conditioning to a higher temperature setting;
    • Turn off unnecessary lights and computers when not in use.
Homeowners can help reduce energy demand by:
    • Turn air conditioners to a higher temperature setting;
    • Turn off unnecessary lights and appliances, such as televisions, computers or lights during the day;
    • Defer household activities like laundry until later hours.
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: .

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.

Related Information:
Sign up for Air Quality

Air Quality Index
Air Quality Web Site