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Extreme heat and humidity lead DEEP to issue statewide Air Alert

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HAMDEN — Four Connecticut cities in the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality forecast are in the top five for poor air quality as we experienced day three of a statewide heatwave.

The heat, humidity, and ground level ozone led the Connecticut Department of Environmental and Energy Protection to issue an Air Alert Day.

“[Ground level ozone] means it’s harder for all of us to breathe,” says Nancy Alderman, the President of Environment and Human Health Inc.

The heavy air can be especially tough on people who have asthma.

Nancy Alderman, President Environment & Human Health Inc.
“That’s the main difference between an asthmatic in this weather and just regular non-asthmatic people who will have trouble breathing,” says Alderman. “[They] will not go into asthma attack.”

Overall, nearly one in ten people in Connecticut have asthma and 11 percent of children in the state have asthma.
It’s the second highest rate in the country.

Alderman says some of the reason for the poor air quality in Connecticut is not all our fault.

“A lot of the emissions from the midwestern coal fire plants end up coming through Connecticut,” she says.

The poor air quality on top of the humidity and heat means asthmatics should keep their inhalers and plenty of water nearby.
The air quality alert didn’t stop baseball from happening in Hamden, but parents did take extra precautions to make sure their kids are safe and hydrated out on the field.

“We were originally scheduled for one o’clock and we moved it back to nine [when] it was going to be a little cooler,” says Wallingford Little League’s head coach, Dave Bouvier.

Parents agreed that nine o’clock was a better start time based on the expected high temperatures.

“I think one o’clock would have been a lot worse, but [I] filled him up with water, and some little cooling towels and he’ll be okay,” says Katie Childs, whose son plays for Wallingford.

The lower morning temperatures make a difference in determining whether the air is too heavy to be outside.

Nancy Alderman, President Environment & Human Health Inc.
“In terms of breathing, the ozone will not normally kick in until you get into the high temperatures,” says Alderman. “You’ll find that those air alerts come usually around 90 degrees or higher.”

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