Southeastern NH and elevated sections of the state are predicted to exceed federal health standards for sensitive groups for ground level ozone on Tuesday.
During hot days when reduced air quality is predicted, EPA and the medical community suggest that people limit their strenuous outdoor activity. On these days, people can also help reduce emissions by choosing to carpool, use public transportation, and limit the use of electricity during peak electrical use hours.
Ground-level ozone forms when volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen (ozone precursors) interact in the presence of strong sunshine. Cars, trucks and buses give off the majority of the pollution create ozone. Gasoline stations, print shops, household products like paints and some cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment also add to the ozone problem.
Exposure to elevated ozone levels can cause breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases, and make people more susceptible to respiratory infection. When ozone levels are elevated, people should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity, especially sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems.
When ozone is forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, members of the public are encouraged to help limit emissions and reduce ozone by:
- using public transportation if possible; combining errands and car-pooling to reduce driving time and mileage;
- turning AC to a higher temperature; turning off lights, TVs and computers when they are not being used;
- and avoiding using gasoline-powered lawn mowers, string trimmers, chain saws, power-washers, etc.
Real-time ozone data and air quality forecasts; also sign up to receive free air quality alert e-mails: https://www3.epa.gov/region1/airquality/forecast.html. National real-time air quality data, free iPhone and Android apps are at http://www.airnow.gov/