Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Even On A Clear, Sunny Wintery Day, Our Air Quality Is Unhealthy

The Wisconsin DNR has issued a dirty air alert for much of state, (details below), because so-called "fine particulates" from industrial and other emissions are stuck in the atmosphere, even on a cold clear day like today, Wednesday.

UPDATE: For Thursday, too, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Dunn, Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Pepin, Pierce, Racine, Rock, Sauk, St. Croix, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.

Despite this reality, the WMC wants clean air regulations relaxed in southeastern Wisconsin, meaning it thinks we should tolerate more dirty air.

From the DNR:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is issuing an Air Quality Advisory for Particle Pollution (Orange) effective Wednesday, December 19, 2007 11:20:49 AM through Wednesday, December 19, 2007 8:00:00 PM for Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Dunn, Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Pepin, Pierce, Racine, Rock, St. Croix, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.

The advisory is being issued because of persistent elevated levels of fine particles in the air. These fine particles come primarily from combustion sources, such as power plants, factories and other industrial sources, vehicle exhaust, and wood fires.

The Air Quality Index is currently in the orange level, which is considered unhealthy for people in sensitive groups. People in those sensitive groups include those with heart or lung disease, asthma, older adults and children. When an orange advisory for particle pollution is issued, people in those groups are advised to reschedule or cut back on strenuous activities.

People with lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis, and heart disease should pay attention to cardiac symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath or respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing and discomfort when taking a breath, and consult with their physician if they have concerns or are experiencing symptoms. Fine particle pollution deposits itself deep into the lungs and cannot easily be exhaled. People who are at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high particle pollution exposure.

To receive air quality advisories by e-mail, visit

There are several actions the public can take to reduce their contributions to this regional air quality problem.
Reduce driving when possible and don't leave vehicle engines idling.
Postpone activities that use small gasoline and diesel engines.
Minimize outdoor wood fires.
Conserve electricity.

For more ideas on how you can reduce your emissions today and every day visit: Do a little, save a lot!

For more information:
Federal interagency air quality web site, for information on the Air Quality Index and nationwide air quality forecasts and air quality conditions,

DNR's statewide air quality monitoring web page,
For local DNR air management program contacts,

No comments: