Park issues air pollution advisory
Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-785-2192
MAMMOTH CAVE, Kentucky (June 29, 2012) Park Superintendent Patrick Reed has issued an air pollution advisory today. Levels of ozone measured at the park pose a threat to the health of park visitors and employees. Though this message is targeted at park visitors, similar air pollution conditions exist outside the park boundary.
"This advisory is to inform park visitors, or those to intend to visit the park, that they may wish to limit outdoor activity today," said Reed. "The hot, sunny, and dry weather we are experiencing in the southeastern United States is very conducive to ozone formation. Present conditions may continue over the weekend and into next week."
Park officials advise that visitors, as well as area residents, may wish to refrain from strenuous outdoor activities, until air pollution levels have dropped below the National Ambient Air Quality Standard.
Yesterday, peak 8-hour average ozone concentration measured at the park's air quality monitoring station reached 91 parts per billion (ppb). Under federal and state standards in Kentucky, an 8-hour average ozone concentration of 76 ppb or greater is considered unhealthy to certain people. Similar conditions are forecasted to continue today.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified several groups of people who are at risk from unhealthy air pollution levels: (1) those with respiratory problems such as emphysema, asthma, and chronic bronchitis; (2) individuals engaging in strenuous outdoor exercise either recreationally or at work, as well as children at play; and (3) a few otherwise healthy individuals who are especially sensitive to ozone and particle pollution and suffer greater loss of lung function than the general population.
Mammoth Cave officials say this is the third unhealthy day that the Park has documented in 2012. Natural ozone levels are estimated to be between 20-50 ppb.
For real-time air quality conditions at Mammoth Cave National Park, go online to http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/webcams/parks/macacam/macacam.cfm, or view nationwide air quality conditions at www.airnow.gov. Air pollution levels are coded as green (good), yellow (moderate), and orange (unhealthy). Advisories are issued when pollution levels reach or are expected to reach code orange.
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