All News Releases By Date
EPA PREDICTS POOR AIR QUALITY IN SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND FOR TUESDAY
Release Date: 07/06/1999
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)
BOSTON -- With extremely hot weather conditions predicted for Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office is predicting unhealthy air quality with elevated levels of ground-level ozone today throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts including Cape Cod and the Islands.
Ground level ozone, the main ingredient of smog, is unhealthy when average concentrations exceed .08 parts per million over an eight-hour period. So far this summer, there have been 14 days when ozone monitors in New England have recorded concentrations above this level, including yesterday and this past Saturday when unhealthy levels were recorded in parts of Connecticut.
Poor air quality affects everyone, but some people are particularly sensitive to ozone, including children and adults who are active outdoors, and people with respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
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. The most common systems of ozone exposure are coughing, pain when taking a deep breath, and for people with respiratory disease, shortness of breath.
When elevated ozone levels are expected, EPA recommends that people limit strenuous outdoor activity during the afternoon and early evening hours, when ozone levels are highest.
"The medical community speaks loudly and clearly on this issue - when ozone levels are up, residents should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity, especially sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England Office.
Ground-level ozone (smog) is formed 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. Gas stations, print shops, household products like paints and cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment also add significantly to the ozone smog.
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;
- go to the gas station 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;
- use less electricity - turn air conditioning to a higher temperature, turn out lights and computer screens when you're not using them;
- avoid using gasoline powered engines, such as lawn mowers, chain saws, leaf blowers on unhealthy air days.
Citizens can also sign up at this web address to receive smog alerts from EPA's New England office. Smog Alert is a free service provided by EPA in conjunction with the New England states which automatically notifies you by e-mail or fax when high concentrations of ground-level ozone are predicted in your area. Smog Alerts are issued to notify interested persons of predicted poor air quality in specific geographical areas of New England throughout the summer smog season, May through September.
Search this collection of releases | or search all news releases
View selected historical press releases from 1970 to 1998 in the EPA History website.