Air Quality | New Hampshire Public Radio

Air Quality

State officials are trying a new approach to a long-running issue -- the effects of air pollution on public health -- with a new commission that met virtually for the first time Thursday night. 

The ad-hoc Emissions Commission includes Democratic and Republican state lawmakers, plus members of state agencies and major health, business and environmental organizations.

Hemera Collection

The state is launching a broad new effort to find ways to reduce the air emissions that drive respiratory disease and climate change in New Hampshire.

The non-partisan Emissions Commission meets for the first time next week and will include members of state agencies, utilities and the legislature, along with health, business and environmental advocates.

Courtesy of Marcus Ponce de Leon

By Degrees is a new climate change reporting project by NHPR. One major focus of the project is the connection between pollution and our health.

Last week, we talked about outdoor air quality in New Hampshire. But scientists are exploring the ways indoor air quality affects us too.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New England has met air quality standards for sulfur dioxide after improvements were seen in parts of New Hampshire, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the reduced sulfur dioxide levels in central New Hampshire will result in healthier air for Granite state residents. The air quality improvements were credited to the installment of a sulfur dioxide emission control system at the Merrimack power station in 2012. The upgrades led to a 98% reduction in sulfur dioxide from the station.

Flickr Creative Commons | chadnorthrup

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.” Do you have a question you want Sam to tackle? Click here to submit it!

Virginia from Manchester asks: I was wondering if we are having an abnormally high amount of pollen this season. And if we are having a worse pollen season than usual, I was wondering what the reason might be?

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is inviting the public to tour air monitoring stations throughout the state this summer.

Air monitoring program manager Kendall Perkins demonstrated equipment use, spoke about the state-wide monitoring network, and answered questions for Laconia residents at a facility tour on Wednesday morning. 

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Southeastern New Hampshire is under an air quality alert today as high temperatures continue.

The state says air pollution and ozone concentrations could reach unhealthy levels in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties due to hot, sunny weather, and with winds carrying pollution into the region.

Officials say children and elderly people—and anyone with a respiratory condition—should limit exertion and time spent outdoors

Ozone exposure can cause coughing, shortness of breath and pain when inhaling, even for healthy people.

The American Lung Association released its annual State of the Air report Wednesday, and New Hampshire is doing better than it has in two decades. 

Air quality in state has improved overall since last year’s report card. Jeff Underhill, a Chief Scientist with the state Environmental Services Air Resources Division, says that’s due to a handful of factors, including cleaner cars and pollution controls for power plants.

Amanda Loder, StateImpact New Hampshire

A report by the American Lung Association has found that New Hampshire's Rockingham County is the only one in the state that's received a failing grade for high ozone days. 

tuchodl / Flicker CC

Most counties in New Hampshire took home high marks for air quality in this year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association.

Two counties do stand out, however, as lagging behind the rest of the state.

Hillsborough county saw an elevated number of days with high levels of ozone or smog, which is produced primarily by automobile and power plant emissions. The trend generally in Hillsborough county has been toward less smog.

A report shows that progress on air quality has stalled in New Hampshire.

EPA Proposes Tighter Woodstove Emissions Standards

Jan 5, 2014
Woodstove 2006
Gord McKenna / Flickr Creative Commons

The EPA is proposing stricter emissions standards for wood stoves.  Manufacturers would have to build stoves that burn 80 percent cleaner than current models.  And for the first time, pellet stoves would be held to the same standards.  The EPA says pollution from these heaters is linked to asthma attacks, heart attacks, and stroke. 

The Department of Environmental Services blames cold temperatures and low winds for poor air quality in the valleys of Southwestern New Hampshire, including Keene.