‘Unhealthy’ air quality levels predicted for Wednesday afternoon

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued a health advisory after concerning air quality levels are predicted for Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Officials classify the expected air quality as unhealthy and are issuing an Air Quality Alert for Washington and Newport County.

The agency attributes the poor air quality to higher than normal ground level ozone concentrations. The weather will be warm in the area and there will be favorable conditions for ozone formation as well.Air Quality

The Department of Health warns that unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments. Children, elderly, and those with lung diseases, are at a higher risk to suffer from these effects.

In a news release, the DEM suggests even moving activities inside and limiting outdoor exercise in the afternoon when the ozone levels are highest. If possible, reschedule kids activities for the morning hours and spend the afternoon in an air-conditioned environment.

The DEM says individuals can help do their part to promote clean air and limit high ground level ozone levels by:

  1. Limit your driving.
  2. Minimize starts and avoid unnecessary acceleration while driving.
  3. Reduce idling in your car.
  4. Drive your lowest emission vehicle.
  5. Maintain your vehicle.
  6. Minimize lawn mower emissions.
  7. Limit use of solvent-based household products.
  8. Limit barbecue emissions.

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