State Health and Environmental Conservation Departments Alert Remains in Effect

Smoke from Canadian Forest Fires May Exacerbate Certain Medical Conditions

Albany, July 8, 2002 – State Health and Environmental Conservation officials are cautioning New Yorkers that winds have carried fine particles from forest fires in Canada into New York State. Exposure to this particulate matter may produce or worsen symptoms in individuals with chronic respiratory disease or cardiovascular conditions. The alert is still in effect for New York State.

Until the fires in Canada are extinguished, fine particles may contribute to poor air quality in New York State. The particles appear as a haze that reduces visibility. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation air monitors continuously measure the amount of fine particles in the air. These levels have decreased from yesterday. Department of Environmental Conservation recorded slightly higher than normal levels of particulate matter for the Lower Hudson Valley and the New York City Metropolitan / Long Island regions.

People should consider limiting strenuous outdoor activity under these conditions. Caution is especially advised for those with pre-existing respiratory and/or cardiovascular conditions, as fine particles can aggravate these conditions. Keeping windows closed and turning on air conditioning may also help to reduce exposure.

7/8/02-72 OPA