NHDES Declares Air Quality Action Day for Smoke
Air Pollution Levels Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Predicted for Today and Tomorrow
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is expecting periods when concentrations of fine particle air pollution reach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals statewide on Monday, July 26, and Tuesday July 27. NHDES officials are calling for an Air Quality Action Day and advise sensitive individuals 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 and bronchitis; and people who are active outdoors. Even healthy individuals may experience mild health effects and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities.
The particle air pollution event is the result of extensive wildfires in central and western Canada and the western United States. Current wind patterns are transporting waves of smoke from these fires across much of the country, including New Hampshire. In addition to the health effects, these smoke plumes also diffract light causing a hazy appearance in the sky and reducing visibility of distant objects. Air quality is expected to improve on Wednesday as winds are forecast to move the smoke plumes out of the area.
The severity of the health effects increases as fine particle concentrations increase. 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.