The American Lung Association published a new report showing that the air quality in Fairfield County, Connecticut, has the lowest level in the whole state. The quality is expected to drop in the next days.
The most important factor in air pollution is ozone, which has an impact even greater than the particles. The ground level ozone is created by chemical reactions between volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen. It can affect not only the people’s health but also has an adverse impact on sensitive vegetation and ecosystems.
Air Quality in Fairfield
All Connecticut counties have been rated an F grade in terms of the ozone layer. Fairfield has an average level of 24.3, while the one in New Heaven is only 16.3. However, the Connecticut counties have better ratings for particle pollution, with Fairfield earning a B grade.
Even so, the Connecticut air quality had been improving over the last decade.
It is yet unclear if the progress was due to real environmental changes, or it is just a secondary effect of a reduction in the air quality standard. The recommended level had been dropped from 75 parts per billion to only 70, thus admitting somewhat high levels of pollutants to be present in the air.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also issued a warning concerning the air quality in Fairfield. In the next few days, a rise in temperature and an increase in winds would aggravate the pollution at ground level.
The authorities advise residents to avoid heavy outdoor activities before noon or after 8 PM, referring to activities such as labor or sports. Those that are most vulnerable are children, the elderly, and people with respiratory diseases.
Another recommendation is to stay indoors and use the air-conditioning to cool, filter and dry the air.
The “State of Air” Report
The American Lung Association uses color labels to mark air quality, with purple being the most dangerous level, going down to red and orange for an atmosphere that can cause difficulties for people with previous respiratory medical conditions.
For example, Fairfield County is marked in red and orange on the map showing the average air quality over the past three years. The number of days with extremely dangerous air conditions was 18 during the period of the monitoring, while another 46 days had orange levels of pollution.
The Association publishes the annual report “State of the Air” as a measure to inform the population on the most dangerous living areas that are affected by various industrial facilities and to motivate the communities and the local authorities to initiate actions that would reduce the environmental risks.
This year’s report shows that more than 166 million people, almost half of the US population, live in counties where the level of air pollution reaches dangerous levels.
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