Ozone levels can be dangerous

Dangerous levels of ozone pollutant in the New York City area and Long Island prompted an Air Quality Health Advisory on July 18 from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis and State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D.
The advisory went into effect on Friday, July 18 and lasted from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“Summertime is primarily when [ground-level] ozone is a problem, so that’s why you see more advisories,” said DEC spokesperson Maureen Wren. “The summer heat and stagnant air masses can contribute to that formation. In the evening, the atmosphere clears up because the heat isn’t present.” Emissions from automobiles and out-of-state sources are the primary causes of ozone and pose the most serious air pollution problems in the northeast.
DEC and DOH issue Air Quality Health Advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution exceeding an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100.
Those who exercise or work outdoors, as well as people, especially children, with respiratory disease such as asthma, should consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity from afternoon to early evening when levels are high. Going indoors will usually reduce exposure.
Individuals experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing should consider consulting their doctor.
To save energy and reduce pollution, DEC urges New Yorkers to:

  • Use mass transit or carpool, since automobile emissions account for about 60 percent of pollution in U.S. cities;
  • Conserve fuel and reduce exhaust by combining motor vehicle trips;
  • Turn off all lights and electrical appliances when not in use;
  • Use fans to circulate air; if air conditioning is necessary, set thermostats at 78 degrees;
  • Close the blinds and shades to limit heat build-up and preserve cooled air;
  • Limit the use of household appliances such as dishwashers, dryers, pool pumps and water heaters or use after 7 p.m.;
  • Set refrigerators and freezers at more efficient temperatures;
  • Use Energy Star appliances and
  • Reduce outdoor burning and/or smoking.
    The DEC offers a toll-free Air Quality Hotline (1-800-535-1345) to keep New Yorkers informed of the latest Air Quality situation. For more information, visit DEC’s web site at https://www.dec.ny.gov or DOH’s at https://www.health.state.ny.us.

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