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Maryland Department of the Environment

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Presentation on theme: "Maryland Department of the Environment"— Presentation transcript:

1 Maryland Department of the Environment
Air Quality 101 Randy E. Mosier Maryland Department of the Environment

2 Air Pollution in Maryland
Very high ozone levels High fine particulate levels Nitrogen deposition to the Bay Regional haze Air toxics

3 2005 Ozone Monitoring Network

4 PM2.5 Monitoring Network w/ Annual Design Values (2000-2002)

5 Good News – Ozone Levels
Ground Level Ozone Monitored levels are lower than they have ever been Days Exceeding the Standard

6 Ground Level Ozone What we typically call smog is made up of ground level ozone. VOCs + NOx + Sunlight = Ozone

7 Volatile Organic Compounds
A primary component of ground level ozone. Formed naturally as well as from gasoline, paint, solvents, pesticides and charcoal lighter fluid.

8 Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Light brown gas compound made up of nitrogen and oxygen. Sources of NOx include motor vehicles, power plants burning fossil fuels and coal-burning stoves. Irritates the respiratory system.

9 Good Up High, Bad Nearby Ozone in the stratosphere high above the Earth protects human health and the environment, but ground level ozone is a harmful pollutant to human health.

10 Health Effects of Ozone Pollution
Ozone interferes with normal lung functioning, aggravates respiratory diseases, and causes eye irritation. Most common symptom is pain from taking a deep breath. Long term exposure to ozone may lead to premature aging of the lungs.

11 People at Risk from Ozone
Elderly Children Adults who are active outdoors People with respiratory diseases

12 Other Effects from Ozone Pollution
Ozone causes damage to vegetation, degrades water quality and reduces visibility. Ozone damages plant life and is responsible for 500 million dollars in reduced crop production in the United States each year.

13 Air Pollution is also Bad for our Waterways
Much of the same polluting activities that form ozone also form airborne nitrogen pollution (NOx). Too much nitrogen is harmful to Bays, lakes and rivers.

14 Fine Particulate Matter
Particles are very small objects found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets.  Our respiratory system filters out larger particles. Smaller particles get trapped in the lungs, while the smallest are so tiny they pass through the lungs into the blood stream.

15 Where do Particles Come From?
Primary Particles power plants, factories, automobile exhaust, construction sites, unpaved roads, wood burning, agriculture sites Secondary Particles gases from burning fuels react with sunlight and water vapor and are chemically transformed into particles

16 Health Effects From Particles
Particles may trigger or cause significant health problems: coughing and difficult or painful breathing aggravated asthma, bronchitis, emphysema decreased lung function weakening of the heart, heart attacks premature death

17 Transport Pollution Depending on the weather, Maryland’s air pollution can be “home grown” or significantly affected by westerly or southerly transport On our worst air pollution days all three of these factors play an important role

18 Classic Ozone Weather in the Mid-Atlantic
Maryland sees its’ worst air pollution during the summer when a “Bermuda High” system sets up over the Carolinas H

19 Measuring Out of State Pollution
MDE works in partnership with the University of Maryland – College Park to measure and analyze pollution being transported into Maryland On our worst days we measure ozone at 110 parts per billion (ppb) floating into the state from the West The 8-hour standard is 85 ppb Proposed Change: The 8-hour ozone standard is 85 ppb

20 Protecting Your Health
Pay attention to the air quality forecast Air Quality Hotline: (410) Television and Radio newscast Baltimore Sun and USA Today Limit your time outdoors Ozone levels are typically highest between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Particle pollution can often be high in the early morning hours Lessen your exertion level

21 2005 Sample Maryland Forecast Fax


23 Daily Air Quality Forecasts
Local TV Stations

24 Daily Air Quality Forecasts




28 AirAlert AirAlert lets you know when the air is unhealthy at specific monitors near where you work or live. AirAlert lets you be the first to know when air quality is reaching unhealthy levels so you can protect your health or the health of someone you care about. We consider it an early warning system for your lungs.

29 Air Quality Hotline Provides real-time and forecasted Air Quality Index information Automated system directly tied into real-time air monitors Meteorologists provide daily input of air quality forecast

30 EPA’s Real-Time and Forecast Air Quality Data
Ozone Maps AQI Forecasts

31 Air Quality Action Days Program
Notifies the public about poor air quality. Air quality message communicated daily through faxes, s, air quality hotlines and the media. Encourages individuals and organizations to protect their health and take voluntary actions to help reduce ground level ozone

32 Individual Actions Limit driving and refuel cars after dark
Share a ride, telework from home, or use transit Consolidate trips and errands Avoid using gas-powered lawn equipment Put off any painting until later Avoid using aerosol products

33 Clean Air Partners Clean Air Partners is a public-private partnership chartered by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC). The primary objective of Clean Air Partners is to promote easy and effective voluntary actions that individuals can take to reduce production of and exposure to air pollution. To learn more, visit

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