State Declares Air Quality Action Days
Unhealthy Air Pollution Levels Predicted for Today and Tomorrow
Concord, NH –The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) is expecting air pollution concentrations to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals in Rockingham County, especially in coastal areas, on Monday, August 17 and Tuesday, August 18. DES officials are calling for Air Quality Action Days and advise sensitive individuals in these areas to take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged or heavy exertion. Sensitive individuals include children and older adults, anyone with heart or 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 activities.
DES forecasts unhealthy concentrations of ground-level ozone (the main component of smog) for sensitive individuals in Rockingham County. In addition, concentrations of fine particle pollution are forecasted to approach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals in southern and western areas of the state. The combination of the two pollutants may intensify health effects.
The expected unhealthy air quality is due to the persistence of high temperatures under sunny skies and light winds transporting pollution into New Hampshire from surrounding areas. Conditions are expected to improve on Wednesday as cooler, cleaner air moves into the region.
Symptoms of ozone exposure include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain when inhaling deeply, and shortness of breath. Symptoms of particle pollution exposure for people with heart disease may include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue. People with existing lung diseases may not be able to breathe as deeply or vigorously as normal and may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. The severity of the health effects increases as ozone and fine particle concentrations increase. In addition to harmful health effects, fine particle pollution may create hazy conditions that reduce visibility.
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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