File photo: Peter Blasl

An air quality health advisory is in effect on Long Island today for the pollutant ground-level ozone.

The advisory is in effect from 11 a.m. through 11 p.m.

The air quality index is forecast to reach 110 for ground-level ozone today, a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, health officials warn.

Ground-level ozone is a major component of photochemical smog. 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, according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Officials advise 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, NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said.

New Yorkers also are urged to take the following energy-saving and pollution-reducing steps:

  • use mass transit or carpool instead of driving, as automobile emissions account for about 60 percent of pollution in our cities;
  • conserve fuel and reduce exhaust emissions by combining necessary motor vehicle trips;
  • turn off all lights and electrical appliances in unoccupied areas;
  • use fans to circulate air. If air conditioning is necessary, set thermostats at 78 degrees;
  • close the blinds and shades to limit heat build-up and to preserve cooled air;
  • limit use of household appliances. If necessary, run the appliances at off-peak (after 7 p.m.) hours. These would include dishwashers, dryers, pool pumps and water heaters;
  • set refrigerators and freezers at more efficient temperatures;
  • purchase and install energy efficient lighting and appliances with the Energy Star label; and
  • reduce or eliminate outdoor burning and attempt to minimize indoor sources of PM 2.5 such as smoking.

A toll-free Air Quality Hotline (1-800-535-1345) has been established by DEC to keep New Yorkers informed of the latest Air Quality situation. Additional information on ozone and PM 2.5 is available on DEC’s website and on DOH’s website.

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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.