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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: July 20, 2011
CONTACT: Jeff Underhill (603) 419-0330

Sherry Godlewski (603) 271-6801

DES Declares Air Quality Action Day
Unhealthy Air Pollution Levels Predicted for July 21

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) is expecting air pollution concentrations to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals in Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties on Thursday, July 21. DES officials are calling for an Air Quality Action Day and advise sensitive individuals in these areas to take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged or heavy exertion. Sensitive individuals include children and older adults, anyone with heart or lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, and people who are active outdoors. Even healthy individuals may experience mild health effects and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged activities.

DES forecasts unhealthy concentrations of ground-level ozone (the main component of smog) for sensitive individuals in the above-mentioned regions. In addition, concentrations of fine particle pollution are forecasted to be moderate throughout the state. The combination of the two pollutants may intensify health effects.

Unhealthy air quality is anticipated due to the persistence of high temperatures under sunny skies and winds transporting pollution into New Hampshire from surrounding areas. Air quality is expected to improve on Friday as wind directions change. Pollution levels may increase again over the weekend as high temperatures continue. Smoke from Canadian wildfires may also affect the region during this time. Additional advisories will be issued as needed.

Symptoms of ozone exposure include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain when inhaling deeply, and shortness of breath. Symptoms of particle pollution exposure for people with heart disease may include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue. People with existing lung diseases may not be able to breathe as deeply or as vigorously as normal and may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. The severity of the health effects increases as ozone and fine particle concentrations increase. In addition to harmful health effects, fine particle pollution may create hazy conditions that reduce visibility.

For further information, contact DES at (603) 271-1370. For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire, call 1-800-935-SMOG, visit the DES website at, or sign up for personalized email alerts at

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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