PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is predicting that air quality will reach UNHEALTHY levels starting this evening on Monday, July 26th and lasting through midday on Tuesday, July 27th. The poor air quality will be due to elevated fine particle concentrations from significant wild-fire smoke originating from several Canadian provinces. While wild-fire smoke is quite typical during the spring and summer months, it often remains aloft and only periodically reaches the surface. This event is already producing fine particle readings into the UNHEALTHY range at air quality monitoring sites upwind and north of Rhode Island, with readings in Rhode expected to climb into the overnight hours. Fine particles are expected to drop to MODERATE by Tuesday evening.
The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles around 2.5 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems, because they can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream.
Exposure to such particles can affect both your lungs and your heart. Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including: • premature death in people with heart or lung disease • nonfatal heart attacks • irregular heartbeat • aggravated asthma • decreased lung function • increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing.
People with heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure.
To avoid experiencing these effects, limit outdoor exercise and strenuous activity and stay in an air-conditioned environment if possible. Individuals who experience respiratory symptoms may wish to consult their doctors.
AirNow can help you monitor air quality near you and protect yourself and your family from elevated PM levels.
For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.