FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2010
Contact: Lisa MacKinnon, Project Coordinator, (608) 266-9063 or (608) 335-5193 (cell)
2010 March 11: WI Madison (Dane County): THIRD CLEAN AIR ACTION DAY CALLED THIS WEEK
FOR FINE PARTICLE POLLUTION IN DANE COUNTY
EFFECTIVE THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2010
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 Thursday, March 11, 2010.
The Dane County Clean Air Coalition (CAC) has announced this week’s third
Clean Air Action Day for fine particle
pollution for all day
Thursday, March 11th. The Clean Air Action Day was triggered by the state Department of
Natural Resources’ (DNR) issuance of a new Air Quality Watch for several Wisconsin counties, including Dane
County, which is in effect from 11:00 p.m. tonight through 11:00 p.m. on Thursday night. According to DNR
meteorologists, nighttime cooling combined with light winds and snow cover or wet soil conditions is creating a
persistent 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 consistent 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
Thursday’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
“As we continue to experience a particularly stubborn fine particle
pollution episode this week, we are calling another Clean Air Action
to alert the public of the health risks and 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
Can You Do to Reduce
Fine Particle Pollution?
Carpool, ride the Metro Transit
bus, walk or bike to work or
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,
Dane County Clean Air Coalition, Page 2
ensure that Dane County continues to comply with all federal air quality standards,” said Lisa MacKinnon, Project
Coordinator of the Clean Air Coalition.
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, we need to step up our emission reduction actions 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 health-related concerns.
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,
, 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