Air quality in Delaware reaches hazardous levels


DOVER — Wildfires in eastern Canada emitting particulate matter into the atmosphere continue to cause poor air quality throughout the region, including in Delaware.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) — which monitors air quality across the state — and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Division of Public Health (DPH) urges Delawareans to take precautions to reduce risks associated with exposure to unhealthy and hazardous air quality levels.

DNREC and DHSS urge Delawareans in areas with hazardous air quality levels to stay indoors. Event organizers should consider moving outside activities inside where possible.
Residents in areas with unhealthy or very unhealthy air quality levels are advised to limit time outside.

As of Thursday morning, much of New Castle County was under air quality levels of 301 to 500, represented by a maroon color code indicating hazardous on the Air Quality Index (AQI).

Kent and Sussex counties have been under purple or very unhealthy levels of 201 to 300 and red or unhealthy levels of 151 to 200, respectively.

In addition, people in sensitive groups, including those with heart or lung disease, older adults and children, are advised to continue to monitor local air quality and take additional precautions as necessary.

“Right now, we need everyone to be safe, especially Delawareans with increased risk from this very unhealthy air,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We love to get outdoors, especially here in Delaware, but today is not the day.

“Delawareans should spend this time indoors as much as possible.”

For those who must be outdoors, properly fitted N95 or KN95 masks help reduce exposure from particulate matter. Typical masks such as cloth or surgical will not provide adequate protection from poor air quality from particulate matter.

The best protection is to remain indoors in a cool and clean environment.

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