HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast an Orange air quality action day for fine particulate matter for Saturday, December 1, in the Lehigh Valley, Liberty-Clairton, and Susquehanna Valley regions.
On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.
The air quality forecast predicts Saturday to be code Orange for particulate matter in all three regions.
The Lehigh Valley region is Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties. The Liberty-Clairton region is the municipalities of Clairton, Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln and Port Vue, all in southeastern Allegheny County. The Susquehanna Valley region is Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.
Fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, about one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair. These particles can get deep into the lungs and cause significant health problems. PM 2.5 has been determined to be most closely associated with health effects related to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for heart and lung disease, increased respiratory symptoms and disease, and decreased lung function.
To help keep the air healthy, residents and businesses are encouraged to voluntarily limit certain pollution-producing activities by:
- Riding the bus or carpooling to work;
- Washing dishes and clothes only with full loads; and
- Saving energy by turning off unused lights in your home.
The air quality action day forecasts are provided in conjunction with the Air Quality Partnership of the Delaware Valley, the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, the Lehigh Valley/Berks Air Quality Partnership and the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership.
DEP also issues air quality forecasts for Altoona, Erie, Indiana County, Johnstown, Mercer County, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, State College and Williamsport.
For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Air Quality Partnership.
Media contact: Kevin Sunday, 717-787-1323
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection