R.I. DEM issues Air Quality Alert Sunday for Newport and Washington Counties

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PROVIDENCE – An Air Quality Alert has been issued for Newport and Washington Counties on Sunday.

The Rhode Island DEM is predicting that air quality will reach unhealthy levels in those areas during the afternoon and evening on Sunday.

The cause of poor air quality is due to elevated ground level ozone concentrations. The highest levels are expected to be in communities along the coast.

The DEM says, unhealthy ozone levels can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Such symptoms worsen with exercise and strenuous activity. Children, elderly and people who suffer with underlying respiratory issues are most at risk.

It is advised to limit outdoor exercise, and to stay in an air-conditioned environment in the afternoon and evening when ozone levels are highest.

Below are some ways that you can help contribute to lower ground level ozone levels and cleaner air:

1. Limit driving. Avoid unnecessary car trips. Carpool, walk or ride the bus or a bicycle whenever possible.

2. Minimize starts and avoid unnecessary acceleration. Vehicle emissions are highest during starting and acceleration.

3. Reduce idling. Avoid congested traffic and lines at drive-through windows.

4. Drive your lowest emission vehicle. Use the most fuel-efficient, usually the newest, car you have whenever possible.

5. Maintain your vehicle. Get a tune-up at the beginning of each summer.

6. Minimize lawn mower emissions. Tune-up your lawn mower and use electric or handpowered equipment if possible.

7. Limit use of solvent-based household products. Use water-based or low solvent paints, varnishes, cleaners, and personal care products.

8. Limit barbecue emissions. Use an electric starter instead of lighter fluid to start charcoal fires, or use an electric, natural gas, or propane grill.

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