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Poor Air Quality Predicted for much of New England on Monday, January 7, 2008

Release Date: 01/07/2008
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine – 617-918-1027

(Boston, Mass. January 7, 2008) Unhealthy air quality is predicted for southwestern and western interior Maine, southwestern New Hampshire, western Massachusetts, as well as Boston, and southwestern Connecticut, due to particle pollution. Elevated particle pollution levels are expected to continue into Tuesday.

“We are expecting Monday to be an 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.”

Fine particles (such as those in smoke and haze) and coarse particles (such as those in wind-blown dust) can potentially cause serious health problems. 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 people with cardiopulmonary disease and older people.

When particulate concentrations are elevated, people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should limit prolonged exertion.

Major sources of particle pollution are factories, power plants, trash incinerators, motor vehicles, construction activity, residential wood burning, and fires.

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

- Using public transportation, car-pooling and/or combining trips;
- Limiting wood and charcoal burning;
- Avoiding the burning of leaves, trash, and other materials; and
- Turning lights off when not in use.

In order to help New England residents prepare for poor air quality, EPA and the New England states provide real-time air quality data and forecasts. The real-time air quality data and forecasts are available at http://www.epa.gov/ne/aqi/index.html .

People can also sign up at http://cfpub.epa.gov/airnow/index.cfm?action=airnow.enviroflash to receive air quality alerts from EPA. The Enviroflash program is a free service provided by EPA in conjunction with the New England states which automatically notifies you by e-mail when poor air quality is predicted in your area.