For Immediate Release
Posted: June 24, 2022

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Jim Martin
(603) 568-9777

NHDES Declares Air Quality Action Day

Air Pollution Levels Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Predicted for Sunday

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is expecting air pollution concentrations to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals in Rockingham County on Sunday, June 26. NHDES officials are calling for an Air Quality Action Day and advise sensitive individuals in this area to take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged outdoor exertion. Sensitive individuals include children and older adults; anyone with lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis; and people who are active outdoors. Even non-sensitive individuals could experience mild health effects and may want to consider limiting strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities.

NHDES forecasts ground-level ozone (the main component of smog) concentrations to rise to levels that are unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the above-mentioned region. The predicted air pollution will be transported with the winds along a band stretching from the Boston metropolitan area to the New Hampshire coastline. High temperatures and sunny skies enhance the creation of ozone from these precursor pollutants. Air quality is expected to improve on Monday as cloud cover increases and temperatures cool.

Ozone levels in other areas of the state are expected to be moderate on Sunday. In addition to ozone, levels of fine particle air pollution are expected to be moderate statewide on Sunday. Moderate means that individuals who are unusually sensitive to air pollution should consider limiting prolonged exertion.

Symptoms of ozone exposure may include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, or pain when inhaling deeply. Symptoms of particle pollution exposure may include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. People with asthma and other existing lung diseases may not be able to breathe as deeply or vigorously as normal and may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. The symptom severity can increase as air pollutant concentrations increase.

For further information, call NHDES at (603) 271-1370. For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire, call 1-800-935-SMOG or visit the NHDES website at https://www4.des.state.nh.us/airdata/.