Clean Air Board Community Meeting, Thursday, Sept. 5, 7 pm

CAB will look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s School Flag Program. Schools raise a colored flag each day that corresponds to the local air quality forecast. The presentation will be held at the Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA 17013, on Sept. 5, at 7 pm.  

Join us for the discussion. 

Air Quality Action Day has been declared for Susquehanna Valley, PA, on Thursday, May 30

Tomorrow’s Forecast
Thursday, May 30: 102 AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Ozone
70 AQI Moderate Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)

Extended Forecast
Friday, May 31: 100 AQI Moderate Ozone
75 AQI Moderate Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)
Current Conditions as of 1 PM on Wednesday: Mostly sunny skies have developed this afternoon after dense fog blanketed most of the region early this morning. Temperatures are already into the 80s and we should see a number of 90 degree readings over the next several days. High pressure will provide the hot and humid conditions along with deteriorating air quality levels through at least Saturday. *** Thursday’s Forecast: Patchy fog possible again early Thursday, though not nearly as dense as Wednesday morning. This fog should be quicker to burn off Thursday morning than Wednesday as well, helping temperatures quickly climb back into the 80s by early afternoon. Highs for the day should push into the low 90s for a number of locations under mostly sunny skies. PM 2.5 levels will reach their highest values for the day once again during the morning, though these values will not be as high as early Wednesday, and will remain in the middle of the moderate range for the day. Light west/southwesterly flow with the ample sunshine will allow Ozone concentrations to climb well into the moderate range. Some locations are even likely to see concentrations peak just into the Code Orange range. Air quality conditions will continue to deteriorate into Friday.

PA DEP and the Air Quality Partnership of the Susquehanna Valley


Smog alert ahead

Summer will soon be here and that can mean high levels of air pollutants in our air, specifically ozone and small particles, commonly known as smog.

Meteorologists declare “Air Quality Action” days when they project that weather conditions are conducive for unhealthy air pollution. In 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) called 12 “action days” for the Susquehanna Valley.

We should heed those warnings. Recent scientific studies conclude that short-term exposure to unhealthy air pollution can have significant adverse effects on pregnant women, children, the elderly and even the general population — especially those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma.

Short-term symptoms resulting from breathing high levels of ozone and fine particulate are chest pain, coughing, nausea, throat irritation, and congestion. These pollutants also aggravate bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma — and can increase risks of stroke.

Children, senior citizens, and those with asthma or other respiratory problems are urged to limit outdoor activities when an action day is predicted.

The quality of the air we breathe is a fundamental component of our overall health. The physiological effect of short-term ozone exposure is being unable to inhale to total lung capacity. Small particles, or PM 2.5, can be especially dangerous because they can travel deep into human tissue. Scientific studies over the last two decades have shown that exposure to high levels of PM 2.5 can raise the incidence of heart and pulmonary disease, cancer, infant mortality, low birth-weight babies, and even impaired cognitive function.

Air Quality Action days are often declared when there is little wind, and when the amount of ozone or particles in stagnant air could exceed federal health standards.

The DEP monitors local and regional air quality. Local television and radio stations alert the public to an Air Quality Action day prediction. Check your newspaper’s websites as well. The Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania also monitors pollution levels at its website, and posts notices when DEP declares an Air Quality Action day. Go to:

On Air Quality Action days, the public can take simple, voluntary actions to help reduce the chances of creating even more health-impairing pollution. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends 10 steps:

1. Instead of driving, share a ride, take public transportation, walk or bike.

2. If you must drive, avoid excessive idling or jack-rabbit starts, and try to consolidate errands.

3. Don’t refuel your car, or only do so after 7 pm.

4. Avoid using outboard motors, off-road vehicles, or other gasoline powered recreational vehicles.

5. Wait to mow your lawn until late evening or the next day. Also, avoid using gasoline-powered garden equipment.

6. Use latex paints instead of oil-based paints, solvents, or varnishes that produce fumes.

7. If you are barbecuing, use an electric starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid.

8. Limit or postpone your household chores that will involve the use of consumer products.

9. Conserve energy to reduce energy needs.

10. Keep your car well maintained to limit excess emissions.

As more scientists and public health officials have studied air quality, more links have discovered between pollution and illness. Our local monitoring and notification systems work like other public information systems that warn of danger and possible threats to our health. They work to protect us, and it is, therefore, wise to pay attention to them.

submitted to Sentinel by Thomas Au

Carlisle Air Quality Hourly Updates

After many months of maintenance work, the Clean Air Board’s air quality monitor is back on line.  Go to the Sentinel webpage to check current readings for particulate matter. 

Clean Air Board Community Meeting, March 7, 2013, 7 pm

“Looking Forward to Clean Air”

CAB will look at new developments under the federal Clean Air Act and under state regulations.  Arleen Shulman, former air resources planning chief at the state Department of Environmental Protection will speak to the board.

This meeting will be held at the Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA 17013, on March 7,  at 7 pm.   Join us for a discussion of this important topic.

Diesel soot is a major source of black carbon in the atmosphere

Burning Fuel Particles Do More Damage to Climate Than Thought, Study Says

The tiny black particles released into the atmosphere by burning fuels are far more powerful agents of global warming than had previously been estimated, some of the world’s most prominent atmospheric scientists reported in a study issued on Tuesday.
The particles, which are known as black carbon and are the major component of soot, are the second most important contributor to global warming, according to the recent study.

EPA sets new standard on airborne soot

The Clean Air Board applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to set a  stronger national air quality standard on fine particulate matter (PM2.5), also known as soot – one of the nation’s most lethal air pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set limits on these airborne microscopic particles, following the findings by independent scientists that this pollutant causes premature death at levels well below what was considered safe.

The EPA tightened the limit, called the national ambient air quality standards, for the annual average level of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) to 12 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) from the outdated standard set in 1997 of 15 µg/m3.  “We have been waiting for this update of the national standard for a long time.” said Thomas Au, Clean Air Board president.  “The public health studies supports strengthening the annual standard. Letting the public know where the air is dirty and dangerous is the first step to improving our health.”

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