Submitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and state Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald issued an air quality health advisory for the Long Island, New York City metro and Western New York regions for Friday, June 9. The pollutant of concern is fine particulate matter. The advisory will be in effect from midnight through 11:59 p.m. The air quality is forecasted to reach “unhealthy for sensitive groups” air quality index levels.
DEC and DOH issue air quality health advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index value of 100. The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale, with a higher AQI value indicating a greater health concern.
Fine Particulate Matter
Fine particulate matter consists of tiny solid particles or liquid droplets in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter. PM 2.5 can be made of many different types of particles and often come from processes that involve combustion (e.g., vehicle exhaust, power plants, and fires) and from chemical reactions in the atmosphere.
Exposure can cause short-term health effects such as irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to elevated levels of fine particulate matter can also worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. People with heart or breathing problems, and children and the elderly, may be particularly sensitive to PM 2.5.
When outdoor levels are elevated, going indoors may reduce exposure. If there are significant indoor sources of PM 2.5 (tobacco, candle or incense smoke, or fumes from cooking) levels inside may not be lower than outside. Some ways to reduce exposure are to minimize outdoor and indoor sources and avoid strenuous activities in areas where fine particle concentrations are high.
New Yorkers also are urged to take the following energy saving and pollution-reducing steps:
The air quality health advisory regions consist of the following: Long Island, which includes Nassau and Suffolk counties; New York City metro, which includes New York City, Rockland and Westchester counties; and Western New York, which includes Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties.