An air quality advisory has been issued for the state of New York due to “fine particulate matter” in the air from wildfires in the U.S. and Canada.
The advisory is in effect all day Tuesday until midnight.
Fine particulate matter consists of tiny solid particles or liquid droplets in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter that often result from fires, vehicle exhaust or chemical reactions in the atmosphere.
According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, these advisories are issued when particles exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 100. The AQI is an estimate of air pollution levels that could pose health risks.
Areas within the Mohawk Valley varied between 100 and 150 Tuesday, making it "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups."
Exposure can cause short-term health concerns like eye irritations, runny nose, coughing, sneezing or shortness of breath. It may also worsen symptoms of asthma or heart disease.
The DEC says going indoors can reduce exposure, unless there are also high levels of particles inside produced by tobacco, candles or cooking.
You can reduce exposure by minimizing outdoor and indoor sources and avoiding strenuous activities in areas where fine particle concentrations are high.
The DEC suggests doing the following when possible to reduce overall pollution:
- Conserve fuel and reduce exhaust emissions by combining necessary motor vehicle trips;
- Turn off all lights and electrical appliances in unoccupied areas;
- Use fans to circulate air. If air conditioning is necessary, set thermostats at 78 degrees;
- Close the blinds and shades to limit heat build-up and to preserve cooled air;
- Limit use of household appliances. If necessary, run the appliances at off-peak (after 7 p.m.) hours. These would include dishwashers, dryers, pool pumps and water heaters;
- Reduce or eliminate outdoor burning and attempt to minimize indoor sources of PM 2.5 such as smoking; and
- Set refrigerators and freezers at more efficient temperatures.