AUGUSTA — Maine is expected to experience unusually high, “unhealthful,” ozone levels during the early part of this week. Sensitive individuals are advised to stay inside, and the general public should avoid strenuous activity, especially in the late afternoon and early evening hours.
Forecasters say that all of Maine, except the extreme northern part of the state, will see greater than normal concentrations of the pollutant. Ozone levels at the coast are likely to be higher than inland, but the same health precautions apply. People with respiratory ailments, the elderly and the very young are particularly susceptible.
Exposure to high ozone levels can cause wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. It can lead to permanent lung damage.
So far this summer, Maine monitors have recorded significantly more hours of unhealthful air quality than in 1996.
Daily updated ozone forecasts are available on DEP’s Ozone Hotline, 800-223-1196, or on the Internet at http://www.state.me.us/ dep/ozone.htm.