Air Quality Health Advisory Issued For Monday, April 7

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE HEALTH DEPT.

POMONA, NY – Rockland County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert is alerting residents that an Air Quality Health Advisory for the Metropolitan New York City region, including Rockland County, has been issued for today, April 7, 2014.  Air Quality Health Advisories are issued by the New York State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation when levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter, are expected to exceed national air quality standards, and be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

The pollutant of concern for the Air Quality Health Advisory is fine particulate matter, also referred to as PM2.5.

Particulate matter (PM), is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets.  Particles of concern include both very small, “fine” particles that can only be seen through an electron microscope, and somewhat larger “coarse” dust particles.

Fine particles (PM2.5) have been more clearly linked to the most serious health problems, since they are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to elevated levels of fine particles can also worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.  People with heart or breathing problems, children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive to fine particles.

You can reduce your exposure to particles by reducing the amount of time spent at vigorous activity or choosing a less strenuous activity (for example, going for a walk instead of a jog) when particle levels are high.

When outdoor levels are elevated, going indoors may reduce your exposure. Tobacco, candle or incense smoke, and fumes from cooking are also sources of fine particles  inside of your home.  If these are present you are being exposed to higher levels and it can affect your health even more. If there are significant indoor sources of PM2.5, levels inside may not be lower than outside. Certain filters and room air cleaners are available that can help reduce particles indoors. For more information on indoor air pollution and filter devices, visit www.epa.gov/iaq.