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Ground-level ozone levels across Long Island and the New York City Metro area are forecast to reach unhealthy levels this weekend.

Air quality on Saturday will be unhealthy for sensitive groups, but on Sunday air quality in the region is forecast to be unhealthy for all, according to environmental and health officials.

The air quality index for ozone will reach 125 on Saturday and 151 on Sunday, according to the air quality forecast by the the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

An air quality health advisory is in effect for both days this weekend, from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

The DEC and the state health department issue air quality health advisories when air pollution from either ozone or fine particulate matter exceed an Air Quality Index of 100.

The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale, with a higher AQI value indicating a greater health concern, according to state officials. An AQI of 0 to 50 is “good,” from 51 to 100 is “moderate,” from 101 to 150 “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” from 151 to 200 “unhealthy,” from 201 to 300 “very unhealthy” and from 301 to 500 “hazardous.”

Summer heat can lead to the formation of ground-level ozone, a major component of photochemical smog, the DEC says. Automobile exhaust and out-of-state emission sources are the primary sources of ground-level ozone and are the most serious air pollution problems in the northeast.

People, especially young children, those who exercise outdoors, those involved in vigorous outdoor work and those who have respiratory disease (such as asthma) should consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity when ozone levels are the highest (generally afternoon to early evening).

Individuals experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing should consider consulting their doctor.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.