Warmer Temps Increase Air Quality Concerns in South Jersey

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Many people were out enjoying the hot weather at Washington Lake Park on the afternoon of Monday, June 12th.

“It’s hot,” says Michael Dove of Washington Township.

“It’s really hot, but it’s really nice," says Maxwell Ralston. "It’s good to have some sunny days after those storms a week ago." 

It may not be summer just yet, but weather like today’s is making it feel more like a hot summer day rather than a cool spring one. In fact, we’re in the middle of our second heat wave already this season in South Jersey.

“I don’t think people always realize just how dangerous the heat and the sun can be," says Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a family physician and assistant professor at Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine. "Sometimes it sneaks up on us.”

Hotter weather can directly affect air quality and today’s conditions actually triggered an air quality alert.

“We want to be really careful about spending time out in the sun and also in the air, especially when the air quality is poor,” says Caudle.

The Environmental Protection Agency has set up an Air Quality Index scale consisting of six colors — ranging from good to hazardous — signifying whether or not you should be worried about the air quality level in your area.

At peak temperatures today many areas in South Jersey were under a Code Orange, meaning it’s unhealthy for sensitive groups.

“Especially those with lung diseases, whether that’s bronchitis, asthma or emphysema," says Caudle. "Sometimes ... poor air quality can affect children and [the] elderly worse than others as well.”

The higher number on the index, the worse conditions are for more people.

“We really need to be vigilant in this weather," adds Caudle. "Check up on our neighbors, stay in the air conditioning. Make sure that we’re using prevention tips so that we make sure that we stay safe in this heat.”

The NJDEP and USEPA make it easy to know what the air quality is with an alert system.

To sign up for the free alerts to be sent to your email or phone visit enviroflash.info/signup.cfm.

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