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Second Clean Air Action Day Called This Week For Fine Particle Pollution in Dane County Effective Tuesday, March 9, 2010

For more information contact:

Lisa MacKinnon, 266-9063 or (608) 335-5193


Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
NOTE TO LOCAL NEWS MEDIA: Please help communicate this urgent pollution
prevention message, including pollution reduction actions, to Dane County area
residents. Fine particle pollution levels could potentially exceed the federal health
standard on Tuesday, March 9, 2010.

The Dane County Clean Air Coalition (CAC) has announced this week’s second Clean Air Action Day for fine particle pollution for all day Tuesday, March 9th. The Clean Air Action Day was triggered by the state Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) extension of an Air Quality Watch for several Wisconsin counties,
including Dane County, which is now in effect through 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday night. According to DNR meteorologists, nighttime cooling combined with light winds and snow cover or wet soil conditions creates an inversion layer, which results in ideal conditions for trapping fine particles and allowing them to build to potentially unhealthy levels. Fine particle pollution comes primarily from vehicle exhaust, power plants, industrial sources, and wood burning.

Since Sunday, Dane County has experienced levels of fine particle
pollution that exceed the federal threshold for "unhealthy for sensitive
groups" such as children, older adults, people with asthma or heart
disease and adults engaged in vigorous outdoor activities.

Tuesday’s forecast indicates that the build-up of fine particle pollution
is likely to continue to exceed the federal threshold for "unhealthy for
sensitive groups”. Because people who are at risk are more
vulnerable after several days of high particle pollution exposure,
those with lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis, and heart
disease should pay attention to cardiac symptoms like chest pain
and shortness of breath or respiratory symptoms like coughing,
wheezing and discomfort when taking a breath, and consult with their
physician if they have concerns or are experiencing symptoms.

“On fine particle Clean Air Action Days we ask residents,
businesses, government agencies and institutions in the County to
join us in taking some simple voluntary actions that will reduce fine
particle emissions, protect the health of local residents and help
ensure that Dane County continues to comply with all federal air
quality standards,” said Lisa MacKinnon, Project Coordinator of the
Clean Air Coalition.

What Can You Do to Reduce Fine Particle Pollution?
• Carpool, ride the Metro Transit
bus, walk or bike to work or
recreational activities.
• Combine errands and reduce trips.
• Don’t let engines idle -- It gets 0
• Conserve energy at home and
work by turning off unnecessary
lighting, computers and other
electrical devices when not in use.
• Open burning and use of burn
barrels should be avoided.
• Avoid use of outdoor wood burning
boilers and fireplaces.
• If you use a wood burning stove,
make sure it is an efficient model;
burn small hot fires with dry,
seasoned wood.

Dane County air quality currently meets state and federal standards. However, air pollution measurements taken during the past few years indicate that, especially as Dane County continues to grow and U.S. EPA creates more stringent public health standards for air quality, actions must be taken to ensure our air remains healthy into the future. By taking voluntary actions today, residents, businesses and local governments can help avoid the possibility of more drastic mandatory federal regulations costing consumers and businesses millions of dollars in
the future.

Since the establishment in 2008 of a stricter federal health-based standard for fine particle pollution, Dane County has come closer to the threshold for being declared a “non-attainment area” for fine particle air pollution. Fine particles are very small particles with diameters less than 2.5 microns (about 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair). The U.S EPA has indicated it will review the 2008
standard for fine particle pollution, which could result in an even more stringent compliance threshold being established in the near future.

Over half of Dane County’s air pollutants come from our cars and trucks, as well as other gasoline and diesel engines that power everything from construction equipment to leaf blowers. Due to their small size, fine particles are easily inhaled and are deeply deposited into the lungs, which can aggravate and even cause serious health problems such as heart and lung disease. On a Clean Air Action Day,
residents are advised to monitor their health and to consult their physician if they have any healthrelated concerns.

For more information on Clean Air Action Days, visit the Dane County Clean Air Coalition website at Air Quality Watches and Advisories will be posted on the main DNR internet page,, as soon as they are issued. The Air Quality Hotline is 1-866-DAILY AIR (1-866-324-5924) and will be updated when watches or advisories are issued. To sign up for the DNR listserv and receive watches or advisories by e-mail, go to

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