Air quality alert issued for May 18

Posted:  Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 4:00pm
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AUGUSTA — Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine on Thursday, May 18, and are expected to reach unhealthy levels along the entire coastline, and will reach inland to include the interior regions, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.In addition, moderate levels of particle pollution are expected in the same area tomorrow.

This is a multi-day ozone event that has been building since Mother’s Day weekend, beginning in the south and central part of the country. Earlier this week, elevated levels of ozone moved further north and east to locations around the Great Lakes as well as into Mid-Atlantic states. On Wednesday, ozone exceedance standards are expected to expand into the metro corridor, from Washington, D.C., to Boston. Maine will be impacted by this event on Thursday.

At elevated ozone levels, children, healthy adults who exert themselves, and individuals suffering from a respiratory disease such as asthma, bronchitis or COPD can experience reduced lung function and irritation. When this happens, individuals may notice shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in their chest.

Some actions you can take to protect your health during periods of unhealthy air quality include:

• Adjusting your schedule to avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the afternoon.
• Consult the Maine CDC website for information on the health impacts of extreme heat and appropriate actions to take.
• The Maine CDC Asthma Prevention and Control Program has asthma information available at their web site.
• For more information on asthma control visit EPA's Web site www.epa.gov/asthma to find information about asthma triggers and lessons on asthma management.In addition to those in a sensitive group, sports coaches, elder care workers, nurses and others who are responsible for the welfare of people impacted by poor air quality are urged to use one of the tools listed below to follow the Air Quality Forecast.
• Air Quality Forecast page: http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/ which has links to:
— EnviroFlash, EPA's email and text alert system, http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/enviroflash.html
— Twitter, for sign up information go to: http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/twitter.html
— EPA's mobile app is available at: http://m.epa.gov/apps/airnow.html
• DEP's toll free air quality hotline is 1-800-223-1196

For more information call the contacts listed above or go to DEP's air quality web site.