The Westchester County Department of Health today announced that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an air quality advisory for Monday, June 19, 2006 for the Metropolitan New York City region, which includes Westchester County. The pollutant of concern is fine particles.
“People with breathing and heart problems, as well as children and the elderly, may be particularly sensitive to fine particles in the air and may wish to limit strenuous outdoor activity when levels of particulate matter are elevated,” said Dr. Joshua Lipsman, Commissioner of Health for Westchester County.
Exposure to fine particles in the air can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.
The Westchester County Department of Health recommends that when outdoor levels of fine particles are elevated, going indoors may reduce your exposure, although some outdoor particles will come indoors. Some ways to reduce exposure are to limit indoor and outdoor activities that produce fine particles (for example, burning candles indoors or open burning outdoors) and avoid strenuous activity when fine particle levels are high. Contact your healthcare provider for specific recommendations if you are at particular risk.
Outdoor sources of fine particles primarily come from car, truck, bus and off-road vehicle exhausts, and other operations that involve the burning of fuel or vegetation. Fine particles also form from the reaction of gases or droplets in the atmosphere. These chemical reactions can occur miles from the original source of the emissions.
For more information, residents can visit the Health Department’s website at www.westchestergov.com/health or call the Health Department at (914) 813-5000