MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - On sunny and hot days, heat and sunlight react with hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides emitted by internal combustion engines like automobiles, trucks and gasoline powered lawn equipment. These mix to form a ground-level layer of ozone.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued a code orange air quality alert for Middlesex county in New Jersey for Monday, July 29.
Ozone is forecast to reach the unhealthy for sensitive groups category for areas in central New Jersey due to persistent sunshine, warm temperatures, and light winds.
Sensitive individuals including the very young, the elderly, and persons with respiratory diseases such as asthma, should avoid strenuous outdoor activities during the afternoon and early evening hours.
When inhaled, even at very low levels, ozone can cause acute respiratory problems, aggravate asthma, result in a 14-20 percent decrease in lung capacity for healthy adults, cause inflammation of lung tissue, lead to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits and impair the body’s immune system defenses, making more people susceptible to respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia.