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MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK (June 1, 2007) – Deputy Superintendent Bruce Powell has issued an air pollution advisory today. Levels of particle pollution at the park have reached levels that pose a threat to the health of certain park visitors. Though this message is targeted at park visitors, identical air pollution conditions exist outside the park boundary.
“Our regulations state that conditions like today are unhealthy for sensitive groups," explained Powell. “This means people with certain health conditions are likely to be affected at lower levels than the general public. For example, people with lung disease are at greater risk from exposure to ozone, while people with either lung disease or heart disease are at greater risk from exposure to particle pollution. The general public is not likely to be affected, but you can certainly see the haze in the air today.”
Since midnight, the 1-hour average of particulate matter concentration measured at the park’s air quality monitoring station has exceeded 40 micrograms per cubic meter, and is forecasted to remain in the “orange/unhealthy”range today. Under federal and state advisory standards in Kentucky, a 24-hour average particulate matter concentration of 40 micrograms per cubic meter or greater is considered unhealthy to certain people.
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.
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.
For real-time air quality conditions at Mammoth Cave National Park, go online to https://www2.nature.nps.gov/air/webcams/parks/macacam/macacam.cfm, or telephone the park at 270/758-2192. 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.
- NPS -