DPH reminds people to be vigilant about air quality conditions this weekend and beyond

Air quality in Connecticut was deemed unhealthy because of smoke from wildfires in Quebec,...
Air quality in Connecticut was deemed unhealthy because of smoke from wildfires in Quebec, Canada.(WFSB)
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 1:26 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - State health officials asked people to keep an eye on ever-changing air quality conditions through the weekend.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said they have closely monitored the conditions as a result of the Canadian wildfires.

They provided updates and recommendations to reduce exposure to smoke.

As the air quality improves across the state this weekend, DPH said it was pleased to provide updated guidance for outdoor activities.

“While we acknowledge this positive development, fluctuations in air quality may still occur, and there are steps that residents can take to make informed decisions during periods of poor air quality,” the DPH said. “This especially applies to children, older adults, and those with underlying medical conditions, who are all considered sensitive populations.”

The department said based on the current predictions for air quality over the weekend, it offered the following recommendations for outdoor activities:

  • Check for updates: Stay informed about the air quality conditions in your area by visiting AirNow.gov. Real-time information will enable you and your family to make informed decisions about outdoor activities. Additionally, if you work outdoors and the air quality is poor, consider rescheduling work.
  • Time of day: Plan outdoor activities when air quality is better, such as early morning or late evenings when pollutants tend to be lower.
  • Consider wearing a mask: When the air quality alerts move into the unhealthy range, wearing a KN95 or N95 mask while outdoors can limit exposure to fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5.

“Reports indicate that we are heading in the right direction, but I want to stress to all Connecticut residents that they should check air quality information in their community if they plan to spend time outdoors this weekend” said DPH commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD. “The weather forecast is promising, but there is still room for improvement in the air quality, and sensitive populations may still be at increased risk from prolonged exposure.”

Juthani said climate change has been the accelerator for the week’s events and that it will continue to have a severe impact on health

“There’s a real possibility we could see further situations like this taking place in the upcoming weeks given that the Canadian wildfires are still ongoing,” she said. “When the air quality status reaches an unhealthy level, wearing an N95 or KN95 mask can be protective to you and your family.”

Juthani added that residents can take simple precautions to protect themselves, such as keeping windows and doors closed to help keep smoke out of the home.