Centers for Disease Control and EPA announce Air Quality Awareness Week

Air Quality Awareness Week — April 27–May 1, 2015

Weekly

April 24, 2015 / 64(15);425

CDC is collaborating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to urge persons to learn how air quality affects health during Air Quality Awareness Week, April 27–May 1, 2015.

Although outdoor air quality has improved since the 1990s, many challenges remain. Ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog, and particle pollution are just two of the many factors that decrease air quality and might affect health. Particle pollution can cause eye, lung, and throat irritation and can cause a heart attack among persons with heart disease (1). Ozone exposure can worsen symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema and can cause coughing and pain when taking a deep breath, lung and throat irritation, and wheezing and trouble breathing during exercise or outdoor activities (2).

EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) (3) predicts the level of pollution in the air each day and provides advice on healthy physical activity. The AQI is available on the internet, on many local TV weather forecasts, or as free e-mail tools and apps (4). The AQI includes information about the five major air pollutants in the United States that are regulated by EPA, including ozone and particle pollution.

Join experts from CDC, EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Park Service on Thursday, April 30, at 1:00 pm Eastern for a TwitterChat about air quality, physical activity, and health. Use the hashtag #AirQualityChat in chat messages to join the conversation.

Additional air quality and health information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/air/default.htm and http://www.epa.gov/airnow/airawareExternal Web Site Icon.

References

  1. CDC. Particle pollution. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2014. Available athttp://www.cdc.gov/air/particulate_matter.html.
  2. CDC. Ozone and your health. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2014. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/air/ozone.html.
  3. Environmental Protection Agency. AirNow. Air quality index. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency. Available at http://www.airnow.govExternal Web Site Icon.
  4. Environmental Protection Agency. AirNow. Air quality notifications. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency. Available athttp://www.enviroflash.infoExternal Web Site Icon.

Middle school students start air quality flag program

The Sentinel:  Middle school students start air quality flag program

 

 http://cumberlink.com/shippensburg/middle-school-students-start-air-quality-flag-program/article_83e96178-03d5-5194-8a08-c7d4a304eeb1.html

Clean Air Board meeting April 9: Ozone Pollution and Asthma

Our next Clean Air Board meeting will be on April 9, 2015.  Join us at 7 pm at the Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA  17013.  We will be talking about Ozone Pollution and Asthma. Please share your concerns with us.

Clean Air Board comments on EPA’s proposed ozone standard

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required by law to review and adjust its public health standards for critical air pollutants every five years.  This review is based on the latest scientific and medical information.  Last November, EPA proposed to move to an 8-hour exposure standard for ozone between 60 and 70 ppb (parts per billion) in the ambient air.

The current public health standard is 75 ppb.  If a new standard is adopted, the public would alerted to more “bad air” days — days during which the air quality is worse than the ozone standard.  These air quality action days would occur during the warmer months, when pollutants bake in the atmosphere to form ground level ozone.

Our members include many people who suffer ailments from breathing polluted air.  The Cumberland Valley is at the receiving end of an ozone transport corridor which originates hundreds of miles away.  Even on days when an ozone alert has not been declared, people can and do suffer respiratory problems due to ozone.

In our letter to EPA, we highlighted some of the more recent scientific and medical studies supporting a more stringent ozone standard. Many of these studies have identified strong links between long-term and short-term exposure to ozone to specific health ailments; other studies have linked air pollution to death rates in certain areas, or have begun to assess the negative impact of air pollution on health care costs and economic productivity.

We support a more stringent 8-hour ozone exposure standard which would better protect our health.

To view CAB’s comments to EPA, click here CAB comment ozone 2015

For more information from EPA, go to http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/actions.html

DEP has declared an AIR QUALITY ACTION DAY for the SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY on Tuesday, March 10

Air Quality Action Day has been declared for Susquehanna Valley on Mar 10
Tomorrow’s Forecast
Tuesday, Mar 10: 105 AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)

Extended Forecast
Wednesday, Mar 11: 81 AQI Moderate Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)
Current Conditions: Our weather pattern has finally changed into something that more resembles March. High pressure is providing plenty of sunshine and milder air this Monday afternoon. Temperatures in many areas have moved past the 50 degree mark for the first time all year. Light winds with added warmth pushed fine particulate levels well into the moderate range this morning, but these concentrations are falling this afternoon with increasing winds. Overall, we will remain in the moderate range on average for today. Clear this evening, then clouds will increase and thicken later on tonight. Limited mixing and moisture advection will mean fine particulate levels rise into the code ORANGE range overnight. Low temperatures falling only into the lower 30s. ***Tuesday’s forecast: An Air Quality Action Day will be declared for Tuesday for elevated fine particulate concentrations. With plenty of low level moisture and near calm winds, concentrations should remain at code ORANGE levels through the day. Upper level flow from the southwest will send moisture our way in the form of rain later Tuesday afternoon and night. A little cooler than Monday with highs reaching into the lower to middle 40s. A shift in flow direction will turn the rain off later on Tuesday night, with fine particulate perhaps dropping some into the upper moderate zone.

For more information, go to http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&cityid=165 

March 5 CAB meeting canceled

Due to weather conditions, we are canceling the CAB meeting scheduled for March 5.

AIR QUALITY ACTION DAY HAS BEEN DECLARED FOR SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY ON FRIDAY, JAN 23

 The Department of Environmental Protection has declared an air quality action day for Jan.23.
Tomorrow’s Forecast
Friday, Jan 23: 110 AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)

Extended Forecast
Saturday, Jan 24: 81 AQI Moderate Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)
Current conditions: Clouds and fog are breaking up across the region as of 1 p.m. EST this Thursday afternoon. High pressure will slowly build into the area overnight tonight into Friday. We are concerned about very light winds near the surface as the high builds in with very little mixing expected. In addition, temperature inversions are likely to trap PM2.5 close to the ground. So for tonight, expect some clearing skies with very light winds. Fine particulate will increase into the code ORANGE range later on tonight as the temperature inversion develops. Low temperatures close to 20 degrees. Friday’s forecast: A PM2.5 Action Day will be declared for the day Friday as very light winds and some warming aloft will bring any mixing in the boundary layer to a halt. Code ORANGE concentrations of fine particulate are likely with this scenario. With some sunshine, afternoon temperatures will recover into the middle 30s. A storm system coming out of the deep South will then move northeastward towards us Friday night into Saturday, and with the current forecast track, we could be in line for a quick inch or so of snow during this period. Precipitation could briefly turn to a bit of rain by later Saturday morning as temperatures creep just above the freezing mark. While atmospheric mixing will be a little greater on Saturday, fine particulate concentrations will remain well into the moderate range. *** Extended forecast: The weather pattern will continue to be an active one as we move into the early part of next week. A clipper system will move eastward and affect the area later Sunday night into Monday with snow. Because the low is expected to track more to the south, precipitation could fall as all snow as cold air remains in place. Following this, a large area of high pressure builds in for Tuesday into Wednesday of next week with dry weather and light winds. Low moderate levels of PM will occur Sunday into Monday, but with high pressure building in next week with existing snow cover, we have to again be concerned with stronger inversions trapping fine particulates close to the ground.–McAuliffe
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