Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine on Tuesday July 3, 2018 and are expected to reach unhealthy levels according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The major heat wave hitting the Northeast combined with prime ozone formation conditions have spared Maine for several days. However, Tuesday ozone levels are predicted to be into the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range for the coast from Kittery through Acadia NP. Moderate levels of ozone are expected for the interior regions and the Downeast Coastal region. Particle pollution levels will be Moderate statewide.
Ozone levels reached unhealthy levels in the Great Lakes region several days ago. As the High Pressure settled over New England those levels were transported eastward into the Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England states and ozone levels have been unhealthy for the last two days. Convective systems have been directing cleaner air to Maine and holding off these high levels of ozone but that will change on Tuesday.
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 a 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.
- Please consult the Maine CDC website for information on the health impacts of extreme heat and appropriate actions to take (http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/heat/).
- The Maine CDC Asthma Prevention and Control Program has asthma information available at their web site:http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/mat/index.htm
- For more information on asthma control visit EPA's Web sitewww.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 listed tools 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 sitehttp://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/ .