FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Rising temperatures this weekend will do more than just make it feel like summer across Fairfield County. It is expected produce smoggy air and unhealthy conditions for some.
The air quality will be rated "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" across Connecticut on Sunday and Monday, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
This weekend will see mostly sunny skies with highs each day in the 80s and 90s, DEEP said. Southwest winds will transport poor air quality into Connecticut for Sunday and Monday. In the sunny, hot weather, transported and homegrown emissions will "mix into the secondary pollutant of ozone, contributing to the poor air quality," DEEP said.
This is an "example of why the Environmental Protection Agency must move forward to protect public health by implementing the latest ozone standard," DEEP said in a statement.
In October 2015, the EPA strengthened the eight-hour ozone standard from 75 parts per billion to 70 ppb. On June 6, however, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the agency was delaying the implementation of the 2015 ozone standard by one year.
“This delay will prolong the exposure of Connecticut residents to unhealthy air – with impacts most severe on those who live in urban areas and sensitive groups, such as senior citizens, infants and those with respiratory or heart ailments," said DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee. "In fact, a 2016 report from the American Thoracic Society found that air pollution accounts for 168 deaths a year in Connecticut."
Last summer Connecticut reported 31 “bad air” days above the new standard. Connecticut has already reported three “bad air” days this season.
When air quality is in the USG category, there is an increased likelihood that those with asthma or other respiratory diseases will experience respiratory symptoms and breathing discomfort. Active children and adults, and people with respiratory diseases, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
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