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Poor Air Quality Predicted for South Coastal New England Until Saturday June 1

Release Date: 05/29/2013
Contact Information: Emily Zimmerman, (617) 918-1037

(Boston, Mass. – May 29, 2013) – Unhealthy air quality is predicted for eastern coastal Connecticut, southern Rhode Island, and the south coast of Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the Islands, for Thurs. May 30, due to ground-level ozone. Poor air quality is expected to continue through Saturday.

“It is unfortunate that with the first days of summer weather, EPA and our State partners have to remind New Englanders that the air quality in parts of New England may reach unhealthy levels over the next several days,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The good news is that everybody can help reduce smog-forming emissions by driving less, by using public transportation and by setting air conditioner thermostats a few degrees higher.”

The ozone standard is 0.075 parts per million (ppm) on an 8-hour average basis. Air quality alerts are issued when ozone concentrations exceed, or are predicted to exceed, this level. So far this year, there have been two days in New England when ozone concentrations have exceeded the standard.

Exposure to elevated ozone levels can cause breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases, and make people more susceptible to respiratory infection. When ozone levels are elevated, people should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity, especially sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems.

Ground-level ozone forms when volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen (ozone precursors) interact in the presence of strong sunlight. Cars, trucks and buses give off the majority of the pollution create ozone. Gasoline stations, print shops, household products like paints and cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment also add significantly to the ozone problem.

When ozone is forecast to be unhealthy, EPA asks the public to take action. The public can help reduce ozone by taking simple steps including using public transportation, car pooling and/or combining trips; and avoiding the use of small gasoline powered engines, such as lawn mowers and tractors, chain saws, power washers, string trimmers and leaf blowers.

More information & resources:

Real-time ozone data and air quality forecasts for New England www.epa.gov/ne/aqi

Sign up for free air quality alerts by e-mail www.epa.gov/ne/aqi

Free Air quality smart phone/iPhone/Android apps http://www.airnow.gov/

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