The Maine DEP observes Air Quality Awareness Week from May 1 to May 5, 2023
April 28, 2023
National Air Quality Awareness Week is taking place from May 1 to May 5, 2023, and the Maine DEP wants to remind everyone that even while Maine has some of the best air quality in the country, there are still pollutants like ground-level ozone and fine particles that can impact the heart and lungs. Ozone is produced in sunlight from pollutants in the air while Particle Pollution consists of direct emissions of pollution in addition to being created by chemical reactions in a polluted air mass. Maine's peak ozone levels occur during the warmer summer months, while particle pollution levels are higher mostly during the summer and winter months. In recent years, Maine has seen an increase in smoke from wildfires in the western United States and Canada. When wildfires create smoky conditions, there are things you can do, indoors and out, to reduce your exposure to smoke. Reducing exposure is important for everyone's health - especially children, older adults, and people with heart or lung disease.
Have enough medication and food (enough for more than 5 days) on hand.
Follow your health care providers advice about what to do if you have heart or lung disease.
If you have asthma, follow your asthma management plan.
If you feel sick, reduce your exposure to smoke and contact your health care provider.
Pay attention to public service announcements, health advisories, and air quality advisories.
Maine DEP forecasts Ozone and Particle Pollution year-round and is available on DEP's website, via toll free hotline, EnviroFlash emails and text messages as well as on Twitter. Forecasts are issued using a color-based Air Quality Index created by EPA. Green - good; Yellow - moderate; Orange - unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people and Red - unhealthy pollution levels for all.
While sensitive people may feel the impacts sooner or at lower levels when the air is in the unhealthy for sensitive groups (USG) or higher category, everyone should think about ways to reduce their exposure. Please take some time to think about how you contribute to air pollution and what you can do to make a positive difference. Here are a few ways to help reduce air pollution in your community especially, on days when the air quality is expected to be unhealthy:
Choose a cleaner commute by carpooling or using public transportation where available
Combine errands, reduce trips
Defer the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment until early evening hours
Refuel vehicles after dusk
Use environmentally friendly paints and cleaning products
For more information about Air Quality visit Maine DEP's website at http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/index.html or follow air quality by region on Twitter at:
For additional information, contact: David R. Madore, Deputy Commissioner firstname.lastname@example.org