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DEP Issues Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for Fine Particulate Matter for Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Multiple Areas of Pennsylvania

07/20/2021

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for fine particulate matter for Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in the following areas of Pennsylvania:

The southeastern counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia;
The Lehigh Valley-Berks Area, which includes the counties of Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton; and
The southcentral counties of Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York.

Smoke from wildfires, mainly in western and central Canada, will persist early in the day on Wednesday before a cold front moves through in the afternoon bringing in cleaner air.  Daily average concentrations of fine particulate matter, however, will likely reach the Code Orange range on Wednesday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Quality Index (AQI) provides standardized color codes for forecasting and reporting daily air quality. Green signifies good air quality; Yellow means moderate air quality; Orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive groups of people; and Red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.

An Air Quality Action Day is issued when the AQI is forecasted to be Code Orange or higher. On an Air Quality Action Day, young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.

Residents and businesses within the Air Quality Action Day areas are strongly encouraged to voluntarily help reduce air pollution by: 

Reducing or eliminating fireplace and wood stove use;
Avoiding the open burning of leaves, trash, and other materials; and
Avoiding the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

For more information, visit DEP at www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/AQPartnersWeb, EPA’s AirNow at www.airnow.gov, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Air Quality Partnership at www.airqualitypartnership.org, or Air Quality Partnership of Lehigh Valley-Berks at www.airqualityaction.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jamar Thrasher, jthrasher@pa.gov, 717-319-1758
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