Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Take Action For Cleaner Air on Monday

November 22, 2010
Lisa MacKinnon, Project Coordinator, (608) 266-9063 or (608) 335-5193 (cell)
County Executive



NOTE TO LOCAL NEWS MEDIA:  Please help communicate this urgent pollution prevention message, including pollution reduction actions, to Dane County area residents.  Fine particle pollution levels could potentially exceed the federal health standard tomorrow, Monday, November 22nd.


The Dane County Clean Air Coalition (CAC) today announced a Clean Air Action Day for fine particle pollution from 12:01 a.m. through 11:00 p.m. on Monday, November 22nd. The Clean Air Action Day was triggered by the state Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) issuance on Sunday afternoon of an Air Quality Watch for several Wisconsin counties, including Dane County.     

What Can You Do to Reduce Fine Particle Pollution?

·         Carpool, ride the Metro Transit bus, walk or bike to work or recreational activities.

·         Combine errands and reduce trips.

·         Don’t let engines idle -- It gets 0 MPG!

·         Conserve energy at home and work by turning off unnecessary lighting, computers and otherelectrical devices when not in use.

·         Open burning and use of burn barrels should be avoided.

·         Avoid use of outdoor wood burning boilers, fireplaces and fire pits.

·         If you need to use a wood burning stove for heat on the Clean Air Action Day, make sure it is an EPA-certified model and burn small hot fires with dry, seasoned wood.


The watch was issued because of the forecast for elevated levels of fine particles in the air. Fine particle pollution is composed of microscopic dust, soot, liquid droplets and smoke particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller. These fine particles come primarily from combustion sources, such as power plants, factories and other industrial sources, vehicle exhaust, and wood burning.


On Monday Dane County could experience a build-up of fine particle pollution that exceeds the federal threshold for "unhealthy for sensitive groups" such as children, older adults, people with asthma or heart disease and adults engaged in vigorous outdoor activities. When an air quality watch is issued, people in those groups are advised to reschedule or cut back on strenuous activities during the watch period.


“On Clean Air Action Days there are a number of simple voluntary actions we can take to reduce additional fine particle emissions, protect the health of local residents and help ensure that Dane County continues to comply with all federal air quality standards,” said Lisa MacKinnon, Project Coordinator of the Clean Air Coalition. “We ask residents, businesses, government agencies and institutions in the county to do their share for healthy air by taking some of these steps to reduce emissions this Monday.”


Since the establishment in 2008 of a stricter federal health-based standard for fine particle pollution, Dane County has come closer to the threshold for being declared a “non-attainment area” for fine particle air pollution. Fine particles are very small particles with diameters less than 2.5 microns (about 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair). The U.S EPA has indicated it will review the 2008 standard for fine particle pollution, which could result in an even more stringent compliance threshold being established in the near future.


Over half of Dane County’s air pollutants come from our cars and trucks, as well as other gasoline and diesel engines that power everything from construction equipment to leaf blowers. Due to their small size, fine particles are easily inhaled and are deeply deposited into the lungs, which can aggravate and even cause serious health problems such as heart and lung disease. On a Clean Air Action Day, residents are advised to monitor their health and to consult their physician if they have any health-related concerns.


For more information on Clean Air Action Days, visit the Dane County Clean Air Coalition website at Air Quality Watches and Advisories will be posted on the main DNR internet page,, as soon as they are issued. To sign up for the DNR listserv and receive watches or advisories by e-mail, go to

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