BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has issued an “Air Quality Action Day for Ground Level Ozone,” in effect from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday, July 2.
An Air Quality Action day means that Ground Level Ozone concentrations within the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards.
The National Weather Service says temperatures will be in the high 80s, but the heat index will feel like 95 degrees on Monday.
Tuesday, the temperature is expected to be back in the 90s again.
According to the CDC, several groups of people are particularly sensitive to ozone, especially when they are active outdoors. This is because ozone levels are higher outdoors, and physical activity causes faster and deeper breathing, drawing more ozone into the body.
- People with lung diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema, can be particularly sensitive to ozone. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Ozone can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital admissions.
- Children, including teenagers, are at higher risk from ozone exposure because they often play outdoors in warmer weather when ozone levels are higher, they are more likely to have asthma (which may be aggravated by ozone exposure), and their lungs are still developing.
- Older adults may be more affected by ozone exposure, possibly because they are more likely to have pre-existing lung disease.
- Active people of all ages who exercise or work vigorously outdoors are at increased risk.
- Some healthy people are more sensitive to ozone. They may experience health effects at lower ozone levels than the average person even though they have none of the risk factors listed above. There may be a genetic basis for this increased sensitivity.
In general, as concentrations of ground-level ozone increase, more people begin to experience more serious health effects. When levels are very high, everyone should be concerned about ozone exposure.