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Unhealthy Air Quality Will Persist in New England Today due to Smoke from Wildfires

Release Date: 07/08/2002
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is issuing an air quality advisory for Monday, July 8, due to elevated levels of fine particulates throughout most of New England caused by the wild fires raging in Quebec. The haze in southern New England may clear later in the day on Monday but, with westerly winds, the particulate levels in parts of Maine should be on the increase.

"People with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit outdoor exertion, while the smoke and haze are still present," said Robert W. Varney, EPA New England's regional administrator.

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

Outside of the winter, major sources of particulate pollution are factories, power plants, trash incinerators, motor vehicles, construction activity, fires, and natural windblown dust.

Another pollutant of concern during the summer is ground-level ozone, or smog. Unhealthy ozone levels are not expected in New England for today. Tomorrow's ozone forecast will be available after 4 p.m. today at http://www.epa.gov/region01/aqi.