Officials have issued an air quality alert for northern Connecticut as temperatures jump into the 80s and ozone pollution increases.
The alert specifically applies to residents of northern Fairfield, northern New Haven, Litchfield, Hartford and Tolland counties, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
"It's our first air quality alert for the season," said air quality meteorologist Michael Geigert.
Ozone pollution increases on hot, sunny days, which can also bring high levels of fine particulate matter.
DEEP officials said high levels of ozone can cause breathing problems in children and adults with respiratory diseases such as asthma and in senior citizens. Healthy, active adults and children can also be affected by ozone.
The state issued 17 air quality warnings last year.
"In general, they've been going down year to year, but it's hard to say what this summer will bring," Geigert said.
Officials recommend taking the following measures to help minimize air pollution when levels are high:
- Conserve electricity by setting air conditioners to 78 degrees
- Wait until 8 p.m. after the temperature drops to use energy-intensive appliances such as washing machines, dryers and dishwashers
- Telecommute, carpool or use public transit to cut down on the number of cars on the road
- Don't idle a car when you don't have to, and wait until after dark to fill your gas tank