Maine DEP Issues Air Quality Alert for Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 17, 2017

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director, david.madore@maine.gov or (207) 287-5842; Martha Webster (207) 287-8093 martha.e.webster@maine.gov; Tom Downs (207) 287-7026 tom.downs@maine.gov

(AUGUSTA) -- Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine on Thursday and are expected to reach unhealthy levels along the entire coastline and will reach inland to include the interior regions according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).In addition, moderate levels of particle pollution are expected in the same area on Thursday.

This is a multiday ozone event that has been building since last weekend beginning in the south & central part of the country. Earlier this week elevated levels of ozone moved further north & east to locations around the Great Lakes as well as Mid-Atlantic States. On Wednesday, ozone exceedances are expected to expand into the metro corridor from Washington DC to Boston. Maine will be impacted by this transport event on Thursday.

At elevated ozone levels, children, healthy adults who exert themselves, and individuals suffering from a respiratory disease such as asthma, bronchitis or COPD can experience reduced lung function and irritation. When this happens, individuals may notice a shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in their chest.

Some actions you can take to protect your health during periods of unhealthy air quality include:

  • Adjusting your schedule to avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the afternoon.
  • Please consult the Maine CDC website for information on the health impacts of extreme heat and appropriate actions to take (http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/heat/).
  • The Maine CDC Asthma Prevention and Control Program has asthma information available at their web site: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/mat/index.htm
  • For more information on asthma control visit EPA's Web site www.epa.gov/asthma to find information about asthma triggers and lessons on asthma management.In addition to those in a sensitive group, sports coaches, elder care workers, nurses and others who are responsible for the welfare of people impacted by poor air quality are urged to use one of the listed tools to follow the Air Quality Forecast:
  • Air Quality Forecast page: http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/ which has links to:
  • DEP's toll free air quality hotline is 1-800-223-1196

For more information call the contacts listed above or go to DEP’s air quality web site http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/