Air Quality Health Advisory Issued For New York State

Seattle in wildfire smoke

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, have issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for the state of New York for Tuesday.  

The pollutant of concern is fine particulate matter, and is in effect until midnight. 

Air Quality Health Advisories are issued when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100. 

Exposure can cause short-term health effects such as irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Exposure to elevated levels of fine particulate matter can also worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. People with heart or breathing problems, and children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive.  

When outdoor levels are elevated, going indoors may reduce exposure. If there are significant indoor sources (tobacco, candle or incense smoke, or fumes from cooking) levels inside may not be lower than outside. Some ways to reduce exposure are to minimize outdoor and indoor sources and avoid strenuous activities in areas where fine particle concentrations are high. 

New Yorkers also are urged to take the following energy saving and pollution-reducing steps:  

  1. use mass transit instead of driving, as automobile emissions account for about 60 percent of pollution in our cities. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, people are strongly advised to carpool only with members of their households; 
  2. conserve fuel and reduce exhaust emissions by combining necessary motor vehicle trips; 
  3. turn off all lights and electrical appliances in unoccupied areas; 
  4. use fans to circulate air. If air conditioning is necessary, set thermostats at 78 degrees; 
  5. close the blinds and shades to limit heat build-up and to preserve cooled air; 
  6. limit use of household appliances. If necessary, run the appliances at off-peak (after 7 p.m.) hours. These would include dishwashers, dryers, pool pumps and water heaters; 
  7. set refrigerators and freezers at more efficient temperatures; 
  8. purchase and install energy efficient lighting and appliances with the Energy Star label; and 
  9. reduce or eliminate outdoor burning and attempt to minimize indoor sources of such as smoking.             

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