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Monday, August 6, 2018

Heat health warning, bad air and high pollen for the next several days

Heat, car exhausts create bad outdoor conditions
By Will Collette

Even in our sylvan paradise, Charlestown is not immune to the plague of man-made air pollution.

Today and tomorrow, air quality for ozone is classified as "Unhealthy." Usually, our air quality is considered "Good" for fine particles (e.g. soot) even with high ozone, but we are also expected to see that decline to "Moderate." Thank you, summer visitors.

Mix auto fumes with high temperatures and sunshine and you get a toxic haze that is harmful to small children and anyone with breathing disorders.

On top of that, we are now getting into the time for high pollen counts for grasses and plants giving you more reasons to sneeze, wheeze and wipe your swollen eyes.


The usual precautions should be taken: limit outdoor exercise and strenuous activity and stay in an air-conditioned environment if possible during the afternoon through late into the evening hours, when ozone levels are highest. Schedule outdoor exercise and children's outdoor activities in the morning hours. Individuals who experience respiratory symptoms may wish to consult their doctors.


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.

Related links
DEM Office of Air Resources, Air Quality Forecast