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The New York State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation have issued an extension of its Air Quality Health Advisory for the New York City metro area that is in effect until Friday, June 9, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.  
New York City’s Air Quality Index (AQI) level reached the category of “Hazardous” on Wednesday, which signals emergency conditions for the entire population.  
The NYS Department of Health is advising New Yorkers to take precautions to reduce risks associated with exposure to unhealthy air quality levels. All New Yorkers are advised to limit outdoor exertion and avoid long-term exposure while the Air Quality Health Advisory is in effect. People with heart disease, congestive heart failure, or a prior history of heart attack, and those with asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other lung disorders should take particular care and precautions, as necessary.  

Employers should also take steps to reduce the risks for vulnerable employees. Exposure to unhealthy air quality can cause short-term health effects such as irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath.  
To limit health risks, public health experts recommend: 

  • Limit outdoor activity and stay inside with the windows closed, when possible.  
  • Wear a high-quality mask (e.g. N95 or KN95), if you need to be outside.   
  • Reduce indoor air particles and pollution. Do not burn candles or smoke indoors. Reduce your use of gas, propane, wood burning stoves, fireplaces, or aerosol sprays. Use a HEPA filter air purifier.  

New Yorkers also are urged to take the following energy saving and pollution-reducing steps: 

  1. If you must go outside and travel, use mass transit instead of driving. Automobile emissions account for about 60 percent of pollution in our cities. 
  1. Conserve fuel and reduce exhaust emissions by combining any necessary motor vehicle trips. 
  1. Turn off all lights and electrical appliances in unoccupied areas. 
  1. Close the blinds and shades to limit heat build-up and to preserve cooled air. 
  1. Limit use of household appliances. If necessary, run the appliances at off-peak (after 7 p.m.) hours. These would include dishwashers, dryers, pool pumps and water heaters. 
  1. Set refrigerators and freezers at more efficient temperatures. 
  1. Reduce or eliminate outdoor burning and attempt to minimize indoor sources of PM 2.5 such as smoking. 

As these conditions persist, and in the days that follow, any New Yorker who experiences symptoms or have symptoms that worsen, especially those indicative of heart disease or a heart condition, should consult their personal physician or seek immediate medical help. If experiencing symptoms of respiratory irritation while outside, like coughing, first go inside to find cleaner air. 

For more information on air quality in New York City and recommended precautions, please visit the NYS Department of Health’s guidance here

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