South Jamesport beach. File photo: Denise Civiletti

An air quality health advisory is in effect for Long Island and the New York City metro region again today. The air quality index on Long Island is forecast to reach 140 and 125 in NYC.

The pollutant of concern is ground-level ozone, a major component of photochemical smog.

An AQI of 100-150 is considered unhealthy for young children, people who have respiratory disease (such as asthma), people involved in vigorous outdoor work and people who exercise outdoors. An AQI of 151-200 is considered unhealthy for everyone. Air quality health advisories are issued when meteorologists predict pollution levels — either ozone or fine particulate matter — are expected to exceed an AQI value of 100.

The advisory is in effect today from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

People should consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity when ozone levels are the highest — generally afternoon to early evening.

Also, precautions should be taken to protect against harmful UV rays today. The UV index for Long Island will be very high: 9 on a scale of 1-11. Protection against sun damage is needed, because skin damage from the sun can occur in just 15 minutes of exposure, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. People outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. should take steps to reduce sun exposure: clothing, hats and sunscreen are a must, the agency warns.

State environmental officials urge residents to limit automobile use to reduce emissions, 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 hours — after 7 p.m.

For more information, call the DEC air quality hotline 1-800-535-1345.

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