The Westchester County Department of Health yesterday announced that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an air quality advisory for Sunday, June 18, 2006 for the Metropolitan New York City region, which includes Westchester County. The pollutant of concern is ozone.
Ozone is the principal component of the mixture of air pollutants known as “smog” that is produced from the action of sunlight on air contaminants from automobile exhausts and other sources. Ozone levels are most likely to be elevated after noon through early evening on hot, sunny days.
Ozone exposure has been linked with adverse effects. Nose and throat irritation, respiratory symptoms and decreases in lung function have been observed in healthy, exercising persons breathing air containing elevated levels of ozone. Respiratory symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing, and may occur in both adults and children.
When ozone levels are elevated, the Westchester County Department of Health recommends limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity to reduce the risk of adverse effects. People who may be especially sensitive to the effects of ozone exposure include the very young, those who exercise or are involved in strenuous outdoor work, and those with pre-existing respiratory problems, such as asthma. Those with symptoms may want to see their personal physician.
For more information on ozone, contact the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000 or westchestergov.com/health.