Air quality health advisory issued for all regions of New York, in effect for Thursday, June 29
Submitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Dr. James McDonald issued an air quality health advisory for all regions across the state for Thursday, June 29.
Air quality is forecasted to reach “Unhealthy” Air Quality Index (AQI) levels on Thursday for Western and Central New York, Eastern Lake Ontario, and the Adirondacks. At this level, everyone may begin to experience health effects, members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Air quality is forecasted to reach “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” in the remaining regions of the state. At this level, members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected. See chart here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/aqi/aqi_info.cfm. The pollutant of concern is fine particulate matter (due to Canadian wildfires). The advisory will be in effect from midnight through 11:59 p.m.
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. DEC and DOH issue air quality health advisories and corresponding guidelines based on 24-hour forecasts, although one-hour values may exceed forecast values in these regions.
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, 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:
√ Use mass transit instead of driving, as automobile emissions account for about 60% of pollution in our cities. Conserve fuel and reduce exhaust emissions by combining necessary motor vehicle trips.
√ Turn off all lights and electrical appliances in unoccupied areas.
√ 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 to preserve cooled air.
√ Limit use of household appliances. If necessary, run the appliances at off-peak (after 7 p.m.) hours. These would include dishwashers, dryers, pool pumps and water heaters.
√ Set refrigerators and freezers at more-efficient temperatures.
√ Purchase and install energy-efficient lighting and appliances with the ENERGY STAR label.
√ Reduce or eliminate outdoor burning and attempt to minimize indoor sources of PM 2.5 such as smoking.