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Poor Air Quality Predicted in Southwestern Conn. and in Valley Areas of Mass., N.H. and Vermont

Release Date: 01/28/2011
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

Boston, Mass. – January 28, 2011) - Poor air quality due to fine particle pollution is predicted for today, Friday, Jan. 28, in the following areas: southwestern Conn.; the Connecticut River Valley, including Springfield, as well as other valley locations in Mass.; populated valley locations in southwestern New Hampshire, such as Keene; and valley locations, such as Rutland, in Vermont.

Stagnant conditions in the atmosphere trap pollution near the ground from sources such as cars, trucks, and wood-burning. The greatest air quality impact will be on populous mountain valley locations, especially where many people burn wood for heat. Poor air quality is expected to continue into Saturday until a cold frontal passage increases wind speeds and improves air quality.

“Our air models predict unhealthy air quality in many portions of New England due to high levels of particulate matter,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “On these days, EPA and the medical community suggest that people protect their lungs by limiting strenuous outdoor activity.”

The current fine particle standard is 35 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over 24 hours. Air quality alerts are issued when fine particle concentrations exceed, or are expected to exceed, this standard. At such times, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

When air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, EPA asks the public to take action. The public can help reduce pollution by:

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

- Avoiding idling of cars and trucks;

- Following EPA Burnwise practices for cleaner indoor wood burning; and

- Avoiding outdoor burning.

More Information:

Real-time air quality data and forecasts (http://www.epa.gov/region1/aqi/index.html)

Free air quality alerts by email (http://www.enviroflash.info/ )

EPA recommendations for cleaner indoor wood burning (http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/)

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