Sunday, May 29, 2011

Air Quality Action Days Forecast On May 30, 31 for Five Pennsylvania Regions

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast air quality action days for Monday and Tuesday, May 30 and 31 in the forecasting regions of Pennsylvania.
The air quality forecast predicts Monday and Tuesday will be code ORANGE for ozone in the Pittsburgh, Susquehanna Valley, Lehigh Valley/Berks and Philadelphia regions.
The air quality forecast predicts Tuesday will be code ORANGE for particulate matter in the Liberty/Clairton region.
The Pittsburgh region includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties. The Susquehanna Valley region includes Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties. The Lehigh Valley/Berks region includes Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties. The Philadelphia region includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The Liberty/Clairton region includes the boroughs of Clairton, Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln and Port Vue in Southeastern Allegheny County.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good, yellow means moderate, orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people, and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.
Ground-level ozone, a key component of smog, forms during warm weather when pollution from vehicles, industry, households and power plants “bakes” in the hot sun, making it hard for some people to breathe.
Fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, about one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair. These particles can get deep into the lungs and can cause significant health problems. PM 2.5 has been determined to be most closely associated with health effects related to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for heart and lung disease, increased respiratory symptoms and disease, and decreased lung function.
On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.
To help keep the air healthy, residents and businesses are encouraged to voluntarily limit certain pollution-producing activities by taking the following steps:
-- Ride the bus or carpool to work;
-- Wash dishes and clothes only with full loads; and
-- Save energy – turn off unused lights in your home.
These forecasts are provided in conjunction with the Air Quality Partnership of the Delaware Valley, the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, the Lehigh Valley/Berks Air Quality Partnership, and the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership.
For more information, visit the Air Quality Partnerships webpage.

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