Air pollution levels up today

Air pollution concentrations are expected to reach unhealthy levels today in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties, as well as all elevations above 3,000 feet, due to high-temperature winds that will blow pollution into the state. Conditions should improve on Sunday as winds shift.

State officials are calling for an Air Quality Action Day and advise sensitive individuals in these areas to take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged outdoor exertion.

Sensitive individuals include children and older adults, anyone with lung conditions such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, and people who are active outdoors. Even healthy individuals may experience mild health effects and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities.

The Environmental Protection Agency tightened the ozone standard this year. As a result, DES expects to see an increase in Air Quality Action Days. However, this does not mean air quality in New Hampshire is getting worse. The new standard simply extends health protection to a greater population.

For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire, call 1-800-935-SMOG or visit the DES website at airdata/air quality forecast.asp.