Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine on Tuesday and are expected to reach unhealthy levels according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). On Monday afternoon ozone levels began building in the New York City/Long Island Sound area. Winds are expected to bring these high levels of ozone to Maine and travel down the coast on Tuesday. A front bringing clouds & showers will be building in from the northwest but is not expected to reach the coast until the evening hours. Prior to that sunshine along the transport route will further contribute to ozone build up. In addition, particle pollution levels are expected to be moderate statewide. Furthermore, heat advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service. This combination of heat, humidity and poor air quality will exacerbate the effects of each.
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
For more information call DEP's toll free air quality hotline is 1-800-223-1196 or visitDEP’s air quality web site http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/.