BOSTON (WWLP) – The number of unhealthy air quality days in 2022 saw a small increase in some New England states compared to 2021.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) New England regional office says that preliminary data collected between March and September 2022 shows there were 24 days when ozone monitors in New England recorded ozone concentrations above levels considered healthy. There were 23 in 2021.
The number of unhealthy ozone days by the state for this summer and summer 2021:
- 23 days in Connecticut (compared with 21 in 2021)
- 2 days in Maine (4 in 2021)
- 4 days in Massachusetts (4 in 2021)
- 2 days in New Hampshire (3 in 2021)
- 5 days in Rhode Island (5 in 2021)
- 0 days in Vermont (0 in 2021).
“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of federal and state efforts, we made great progress in reducing ozone pollution over the past several decades and providing cleaner air for our communities,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “Unfortunately, New England and especially coastal Connecticut continues to experience an unacceptable number of days with unhealthful air quality. EPA is taking steps to improve ozone air quality, such as implementing rules to reduce air pollution from passenger cars and trucks and power plants.”
The number of unhealthy days (when ozone concentrations exceed the 0.070 parts per million standard) can vary due to weather conditions. Hot, sunny, summery weather increases ozone formation and most of summer 2022 was hot and dry. The region had above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation creating severe drought conditions in many areas of New England, including all of Massachusetts.
“If your child has asthma, you really want to talk to your pediatrician about really improving their anti-inflammatory medications, so on those summer days where they are going to go out, when they are going to be at camp, and they might be exposed to stuff.. let’s make sure we have their medications right so they don’t go into an asthma exacerbation,” said Pediatrics Division Chief Dr. John O’Reilly from Baystate Health.
Despite this rise in unhealthy air quality days in 2022, the air quality has improved significantly since 1983 due to reductions in ozone emissions. According to the EPA, there were 118 unhealthy days across New England in 1983.
The daily air quality forecast is available on the EPA Air Quality Index web page.