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Code Red Concerns for Pa. Air Quality

June 29, 2023

Pennsylvania continues to grapple with air quality issues due to the smoke from Canadian wildfires, with all of the state falling under a code red warning.

Today, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) declared a Code Red Air Quality Action Day for all of Pennsylvania. State health officials are encouraging everyone to monitor the air quality in their community, especially those with pre-existing respiratory conditions who can be at high risk for complications.

“The average Air Quality Index readings for the entire day will likely be in the Code Red range, however local conditions could be Code Purple throughout the day,” the DEP noted in a statement.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Code purple:  The risk of health effects from poor air quality is elevated for everyone.
  • Code red:  Vulnerable groups—such as young children, seniors, and those with respiratory problems—are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should avoid outdoor activities. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
  • Code orange:  Vulnerable groups should limit outdoor activities.
  • Do your part:  During air quality action days, you can help reduce air pollution by avoiding the open burning of leaves, trash, and other materials, or the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
  • Stay aware:  For localized, real-time conditions by ZIP code, visit the federal government’s AirNow website.

Fine particulate matter can be made up of hundreds of different chemicals. It can be emitted directly from a source, such as construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks, or fires. 

“Smoke from the wildfires is expected to impact Pennsylvania air quality throughout Thursday and Friday, with some possible relief on Saturday,” the DEP said.

HAP and Pennsylvania hospitals continue to monitor the air quality issues and encourage everyone to take proper precautions.