December 13, 14, and 15, 2012 are forecast to be Code Yellow (“moderately” polluted) bad air days in Delaware.
The official EPA definition of Code Yellow:
“Moderate” AQI is 51 – 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people….”
In fact, air pollution levels well within “regulatory limits” are known to cause death and disease to large numbers of people.Â EPA itself says:
“Particle exposure can lead to a variety of health effects. For example, numerous studies link particle levels to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits and even to death from heart or lung diseases. Both long- and short-term particle exposures have been linked to health problems.”
“Even if you are healthy, you may experience temporary symptoms, such as irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; phlegm; chest tightness; and shortness of breath.
If you have lung disease, you may not be able to breathe as deeply or as vigorously as normal, and you may experience coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, shortness of breath, and unusual fatigue. If you have any of these symptoms, reduce your exposure to particles and follow your doctor’s advice. Contact your doctor if symptoms persist or worsen. If you have asthma, carefully follow your asthma management plan when particle levels are high. Your doctor can help you develop a plan if you don’t have one.
If you have heart disease, particle exposure can cause serious problems in a short period of time even heart attacks with no warning signs. So don’t assume that you are safe just because you don’t have symptoms. Symptoms such as chest pain or tightness, palpitations, shortness of breath, or unusual fatigue may indicate a serious problem. If you have any of these symptoms, follow your doctor’s advice.”
“Sunny on Thursday with light northerly winds and low humidity. Particle concentrations will edge upward as high pressure builds overhead later in the day and will just reach into the moderate range late in the day.”
“A more substantial rise in particle concentrations is expected for Friday as winds shift to the southwest and vertical mixing is suppressed.Â This will push air quality well into the moderate range.Â A weak frontal boundary will drop into Delaware Saturday but will stall and move northward as a warm front on Sunday.Â Air quality will be variable across the region Saturday but peak concentrations will remain in the moderate range.”
Green Delaware says:
On bad air days make a special effort not to use or be around fireplaces, wood stoves, and backyard boilers.Â these are very big sources of air pollutants.