The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued on Friday an air quality alert due to unhealthy ground-level ozone concentrations in the air along the Maine Coast from Kittery to Acadia National Park.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday at 11:00 a.m. that parts of New England will suffer air pollution in coastal Connecticut, all Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts and southern and central coastal Maine.
The Federal air quality standard for ozone was surpassed and follows a shift in the weather pattern according to the National Weather Service. The change brings hot, and humid air from the south and temperature was expected to reach the 90 degrees on Friday with higher moist levels.
Ground-level ozone is a byproduct of emissions from factories, power plants and vehicles exhaust from their motors. It includes lawn equipment, household paints, stains, and solvents.
To help reduce emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended people to use public transportation, carpool and limit the use of electricity on Friday. These actions will avoid increasing the levels of ground ozone.
The Maine DEP warned people that ground-level ozone could cause a lung function reduction and irritation, for everyone, especially for children and people with respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). A person with reduced lung function and irritation will experience shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and it is possible to feel an uncomfortable sensation in the chest.
To avoid health problems, the Department urged people to stay indoors and avoid if possible working is exercising outdoors.
The DEP recommends consulting Maine CDC website for information on the health impacts of the extreme heat, to take appropriate actions. For those people suffering asthma, the Maine CDC Asthma Prevention and Control Program has information on the disease on its website. The EPA’s website also has information about what could trigger asthma and teaches on asthma management.
Ground-level ozone: very present on summer days
Ground-level ozone has nothing to do with the protective role that has layered in the atmosphere, also called ozone. Ozone Aware explains that ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that forms when emissions from everyday items combine with other pollutants when the weather is hot and temperatures approach 80 to 90 degrees.
Prolonged exposure can cause a reduced resistance to lung infections and colds and can also trigger pre-existing conditions in individuals with asthma, bronchitis, and COPD.
The DEP asks people to stay alert to new air pollution alerts.