2010 March 5: WI Dane County: Clean Air Action Day Called in Dane County for Fine Particle Pollution
For more information contact:
Lisa MacKinnon, 266-9063 or 608-335-5193
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/5/2010
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 tomorrow, Friday, March 5th.
The Dane County Clean Air Coalition (CAC) today announced a Clean Air Action Day for fine particle pollution for Friday, March 5th. The Clean Air Action Day was triggered by the state Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR)
issuance late this afternoon of an Air Quality Watch for several Wisconsin counties, including Dane County.
According to DNR meteorologists, warm temperatures and light winds create an inversion layer formed by warm air rising over melting snow cover, which results in ideal conditions for trapping fine particles and allowing them to build to potentially unhealthy levels.
On Friday Dane County could experience a build-up of fine particle
pollution that exceeds 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.
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
“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
• Combine errands and reduce
• Don’t let engines idle — It gets
• Conserve energy at home and
work by turning off
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.
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
For more information on Clean Air Action Days, visit the Dane County Clean Air Coalition website at
http://www.healthyairdane.org. Air Quality Watches and Advisories will be posted on the main DNR internet
page, http://dnr.wi.gov/, 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