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Release Date: 07/15/1998
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, (617)918-4154

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency predicts unhealthy air quality with elevated levels of ground-level ozone for Thursday in the following areas: central Connecticut to western Rhode Island, coastal Maine including Acadia National Park.

This will be the fourth day in a row of high ozone levels in New England. The anticipated increase in cloudiness, however, is expected to keep ozone levels somewhat lower than they have been during the past few days.

Air quality is considered to be unhealthy when it exceeds EPA's new and more-stringent standard of .08 parts per million averaged over an eight-hour period. New England has exceeded this standard ten days this spring and summer.

"The medical community speaks in unison on this issue - when ozone levels are up, kids as well as adults with respiratory problems need to take care. They should refrain from or reduce their strenuous outdoor activity," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England Office. "New Englanders can help curb ozone by letting their lawn grow for a couple of days or using a push mower, and leaving their car in the garage in favor of public transportation."

Ground-level ozone is a respiratory irritant that causes health problems by damaging lung tissue and reducing lung function. Exposure to ground-level ozone causes coughing, headaches, nausea, and may cause premature aging of the lung. Poor air quality can affect everyone, but groups that are particularly sensitive to ozone include children who are active outdoors, outdoor workers, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma. The New England Office of EPA recommends that sensitive individuals limit outdoor activities and refrain from strenuous exercise on days when air quality is predicted to be unhealthy.

In an effort to better inform New Englanders about "real-time" ozone levels, the EPA has expanded its computerized ozone mapping system, which shows real-time images of ground-level ozone levels throughout the Midwest and Northeast. The color ozone map is available on the EPA's Wide Web information page on ozone and air pollution at

New England citizens can help prevent poor air quality days through a variety of activities:

    • Since exhaust from automobiles is a major contributor to ground-level ozone, use public transportation, bike or walk where possible
    • When it's imperative to drive, car pool and plan trips carefully to avoid excess driving
    • Refuel your vehicle at night to reduce the escape of gasoline vapors during the hottest times of the day;
    • Avoid the use of gasoline powered engines on predicted unhealthy air days.