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FW: Wisconsin Receives First Statewide Air Quality Health Advisory, More Likely

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    DNR has extended the air health advisory it issued Wednesday to be effective Thurday and through Friday 3:00 PM. ... Madison Independent Media Center - Health
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2005
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      DNR has extended the air health advisory it issued Wednesday to be
      effective Thurday and through Friday 3:00 PM.
      --------- Forwarded message ----------
      Madison Independent Media Center - Health News
      http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display/21568/index.php

      Wisconsin Receives First Statewide Air Quality Health Advisory, More
      Likely, Unless ... ?
      by Michael T. Neuman

      02 Feb 2005

      Summary: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued its first
      ever
      statewide air health advisory on Tuesday, February 1, which remained
      effective through Wednesday, February 2, until 3:00 PM. It was the
      combination of moist, warm air with stagnant weather conditions,
      together with the input of particulate emissions from power plants,
      motor vehicle operation and other fuel burning sources, that led to
      the Orange level health advisory, according to DNR's Larry Bruss of
      DNR Air Management.

      "We we can expect to see many more air quality health advisories in
      Wisconsin in the future if we do reduce motor vehicle emissions,
      along with the millions of tons of coal burned in power plants", said
      Mike Neuman of the Madison area Preserve Our Climate Coalition.
      Increased greenhouse gas emissions from additional sources of fossil
      fuel burning in the state is likely to contribute to accelerated
      global warming, which could possibly increase the potential for air
      quality health advisories in the Midwest even more, Neuman said.

      Text: The advisory determination issued this week by the DNR was based
      on
      the presence of persistently elevated levels of fine particles in the
      air, recorded at seven air quality monitoring stations located around
      the state.

      An Orange level health advisory means the outdoor air on those days
      is considered "unhealthy for sensitive groups". "Sensitive groups"
      include people with heart or lung disease, asthma, older adults and
      children.

      People with either lung disease or heart disease are considered to be
      at greater risk from exposure to fine particle pollution, and are
      advised to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion and be cautious of
      respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing and discomfort when
      taking a breath.

      The fine particles in the air come primarily from combustion sources,
      such as car exhaust, fireplaces and wood stoves, factories and other
      sources, and consist of a mixture of solids and liquid droplets which
      are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. The particles are so small
      they can only be detected with an electron microscope, and because
      they are so small, they can get into the lungs, potentially causing
      serious health problems, thus considered unhealthy for sensitive
      groups.

      On Wednesday at 3:00 PM, the DNR extended the Orange level health
      advisory through Thursday until 3:00 PM for all Wisconsin counties
      except for the southeastern part of the state, which includes
      Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington
      and Waukesha. By Wednesday afternoon, air quality conditions in
      southeastern Wisconsin had improved enough for a "Yellow"
      determination to be made for the southeastern counties, signifying
      a "moderate" level of concern - but not polluted enough to continue
      the health advisory.

      DNR uses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s measurement
      called the "Air Quality Index" (AQI) to make Wisconsin's air quality
      health advisory determinations. AQI's are identified for five major
      air pollutants: ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon
      monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. This week's air
      pollution levels in Wisconsin were above the levels considerate as
      moderate particle pollution.

      For each of these pollutant designations, EPA has established
      national air quality standards ranging from an air quality index
      value of zero to 500. Air quality testing out at an AQI of 0 to 50 is
      considered "Good" (Green); an AQI of 51 to 100 is
      considered "Moderate" (Yellow); an AQI of 101 to 150 is
      considered "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" (Orange); an AQI of 151
      to 200 is considered "Unhealthy" (Red); an AQI of 201 to 300 is
      considered "Very Unhealthy"(Purple); and an AQI of 301 to 500 is
      considered "Hazardous" (Maroon).

      AQI values reported at the various stations located around the state
      by Wednesday afternoon were as follows: Sommerset: 133; Manitowoc:
      116; Mayville (Dodge Co.): 119; Devil's Lake: 131; Green Bay: 144;
      Perkin's Township (Clark Co.): 139. The air quality monitoring
      station nearest Madison is the Devil's Lake station, which had an AQI
      value of 131 on Wednesday.

      Elsewhere in the Midwest, EPA reported air quality alerts were issued
      this week for many areas of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio,
      Pennsylvania, Maine, and statewide in Minnesota. The stagnant weather
      conditions that helped bring on these conditions are expected to
      persist over the central and eastern United States through the end of
      the work week, EPA said. Air quality conditions are expected to
      gradually improve from west to east over the weekend.

      Unfortunately, we can expect to see many more air quality health
      advisories in Wisconsin in the future if we do reduce motor vehicle
      emissions, along with the millions of tons of coal burned in power
      plants. "Current state and local highway and airport construction
      plans in Wisconsin envision significant increases in the numbers of
      motor vehicle miles traveled in the state and Wisconsin utilities
      have several new coal-fired power plants planned and on-line which
      will add more fine particles to air", said Mike Neuman of the Madison
      area Preserve Our Climate Coalition.

      "Increased greenhouse gas emissions from these additional sources of
      fossil fuel burning in the state is also likely to contribute to
      accelerated global warming, which will increase the potential for air
      quality health advisories in the Midwest even more", Neuman said.

      It should be recognized, also, that African American and Hispanic
      populations are known to suffer disproportionately from asthma,
      according to the American Lung Association's recent report "Lung
      Disease Data in Culturally Diverse Communities: 2005". This means
      that air pollution health advisories are likely to most onerous upon
      these populations, which warrants particular attention from
      government because of the clear inequities increased level of
      pollution bring to bear on Wisconsin's African-American and Hispanic
      populations.

      http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=311779
      http://www.epa.gov/airnow
      http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/ce/news/rbnews/2005/020105co1.htm
      See Also:
      http://www.madison.com/communities/preserveourclimate
      http://madison.indymedia.org/feature/display/21216/index.php
      http://madison.indymedia.org/feature/display/20960/index.php
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