The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is forecasting unhealthy air quality for “sensitive groups” on Tuesday, July 17 due to elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution.
A forecast of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” indicates increased likelihood of respiratory symptoms and breathing discomfort in active children and adults with respiratory disease, such as asthma.
Ground level or "bad" ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC.
High pressure will drift off the mid-Atlantic coast on Tuesday, transporting a hotter and more humid air mass over Connecticut into Wednesday and the combination of heat and surface winds will produce favorable conditions for ozone formation and transport of elevated levels of ozone into Connecticut.
Bad Ozone Effects
Anyone can be affected by ozone, but groups particularly sensitive include children and adults who are active outdoors, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma. Sensitive people who experience effects at lower ozone concentrations are likely to experience more serious effects at higher concentrations.
What To Do?
- Conserving electricity by setting air conditioners to 78 degrees;
- “Wait ‘til 8” to use energy intensive appliances like washing machines, dryers and dishwashers;
- Driving less by carpooling, vanpooling or using public transit;
- Telecommuting if possible;
- Refueling your vehicle after dusk and never idling a vehicle unnecessarily.
As of April 30, 2012, DEEP began informing Connecticut’s regulated community and the general public of the upcoming ozone season via the State of Connecticut E-mail list serve and posting air quality forecasts on the DEEP web page, available here.