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Maryland’s Air Quality a concern

June 29th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Department of the Environment has code orange air quality alerts for this Thursday and Friday, mounting the total of unhealthy air quality days to 9 this June. A Code Orange day means the air is unhealthy to breathe for all sensitive populations including children, older adults, and those with respiratory or heart conditions. “Orange” and “red” air quality alert days are a result of a dangerous combination of ozone pollution, known as smog, and particle pollution, or soot, and warm temperatures. Ozone pollution from energy production and automobiles and other unhealthy energy combines during warm weather to exacerbate respiratory problems for certain groups, making it harder to breathe.

During 2000 – 2012, residents of Baltimore City had the highest risk of hospitalization among Maryland counties for heart attack during extreme heat events. The increase in heart attack risk related to extreme heat events was much higher among non-Hispanic blacks compared to non-Hispanic whites (27% vs 9%). 

Smog causes the lungs and airways to become inflamed and swollen. Even at low levels smog can cause asthma attacks and impair lung function. More frequent bad air quality days are a result of more frequent extreme heat events induced by climate change. Maryland residents will require adequate healthcare support for the increases in unhealthy air quality days. 


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