NH Air Pollution: NHDES Declares Air Quality Action Day.

NH Air Pollution.


NHDES Declares Air Quality Action Day

Unhealthy Air Pollution Levels Predicted for Wednesday Evening through Thursday

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is expecting air pollution concentrations to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals in populated valley areas in southwestern New Hampshire, especially in Keene, Wednesday evening January 6 through Thursday, January 7 and into Friday morning January 8. NHDES 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 exertion. Sensitive individuals include children, older adults, and anyone with heart or lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. Even healthy individuals may experience mild health effects and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged activities.

NHDES forecasts concentrations of fine particle pollution to be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the above-mentioned region. The expected unhealthy particle pollution levels are a combined result of low temperatures, calm winds which limit air movement and inhibit dispersion, and pollution transported from surrounding areas. Much of this pollution is emitted from heating devices, especially residential wood-burning stoves and boilers. Communities located in valleys or other low-lying areas where temperature inversions are common are more strongly affected. If an alternative heating source is available, residents are encouraged to postpone wood burning until winds increase and air quality improves. Conditions are expected to improve Friday afternoon as wind speeds increase, resulting in better mixing and cleaner air.

The severity of the health effects increases as fine particle concentrations increase. Symptoms of particle pollution exposure for people with heart disease may include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue. People with asthma and other 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. In addition to harmful health effects, fine particle pollution may create hazy conditions that reduce visibility.

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


Posted 1/6/16

 

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