Vermont Health Department Issues Advisory Due to Poor Air Quality Measured by EPA

For Immediate Release: Sept. 14, 2005
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Vermont health officials are advising people to limit their physical activity outdoors for the next few days, due to elevated levels of air pollution measured Sept. 13 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at four air quality monitoring sites around the state.

“Children and adults who have asthma will be particularly likely to experience symptoms until the air quality improves,” said Donald Swartz, MD, director of Health Improvement for the Vermont Department of Health. “If you have asthma it is important to be using all your ‘preventer’ medications, and if you are on an Asthma Management Plan, it may be wise to use the treatment plan for the ‘Yellow Zone’ even if you are not currently having symptoms in order to stay symptom free. For all of us, it is good common sense to take it easy until the weather shifts.”

Unhealthy levels of particulate matter and ground-level ozone are expected to persist through Thursday, Sept. 15, according to the EPA.

“The EPA expects elevated levels of fine particles to persist in Vermont until mid day on Thursday, when a cold front bringing in cleaner air arrives,” said David Conroy, manager of Air Programs for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England office.

Exposure to elevated ozone levels can cause serious breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases, and make people more susceptible to respiratory infection. Exposure to elevated particulate levels can increase the likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravate heart or lung disease and cause premature death in the elderly and persons with cardiopulmonary disease.

To read the EPA press release visit: www.epa.gov/region1/pr/2005/sep/sr050901.html