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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
PUBLIC GOVERNMENT BUSINESS A to Z LIST

Media Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: April 24, 2009
CONTACT: Robert Scott (603) 892-1706 (cell)

State Declares Air Quality Action Day
Unhealthy Air Pollution Levels Predicted for Tomorrow

Concord, NH -- Air pollution concentrations are expected to reach unhealthy levels in Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties, as well as elevations above 3000 feet, on Saturday April 25. State officials are calling for an Air Quality Action Day and advise sensitive individuals in these areas to take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged outdoor exertion. Sensitive individuals include children and older adults, anyone with lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, and people who are active outdoors. Even healthy individuals may experience mild health effects and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities.

The NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) expects concentrations of ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, to be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the above-mentioned regions. The expected unhealthy air quality is due to the persistence of high temperatures under sunny skies and winds transporting pollution into New Hampshire from surrounding areas. Conditions are expected to improve on Sunday as winds increase and shift to bring cleaner air into the region.

Symptoms of ozone exposure include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain when inhaling deeply, and shortness of breath. The severity of the health effects increases as ozone concentrations increase.

In an effort to better protect public health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tightened the ozone standard this year. As a result, DES expects to see an increase in Air Quality Action Days. However, this does not mean air quality in New Hampshire is getting worse. The new standard simply extends health protection to a greater population.

For further information, contact DES at (603) 271-1370. For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire, call 1-800-935-SMOG or visit the DES website at www.airquality.nh.gov.

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