DOH: New Year's air quality continues to improve on Oahu

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Clean Air Branch says it measured lower levels of smoke on Oahu from fireworks during the 2013 New Year period.

DOH says that the particulate levels continue a trend that coincides with reduced fireworks activity resulting from the 2011 ban on certain fireworks on Oahu.

The DOH measures particulate levels at four air monitoring stations on Oahu (Honolulu, Pearl City, Sand Island and Kapolei), one on Kauai (Niumalu), and one on Maui (Kihei).

Fireworks smoke consists primarily of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which can penetrate into the lungs and aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

The PM2.5 national standard is 35 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) averaged over 24 hours.

During the 2013 New Year period, the particulate levels were measured at 15 µg/m3 or lower in all areas, with the highest recorded particulate level of 15 µg/m3 in Pearl City.

Prior to the ban, during the 2011 New Year period, the highest recorded particulate levels on Oahu were 36 µg/m3 in Pearl City and 32 µg/m3 in Kapolei.

During the 2012 New Year period, which was the first New Year after the ban, the recorded particulate levels ranged from 6 µg/m3 to 16 µg/m3, with the highest recorded particulate level of 16 µg/m3 in Niumalu.

New Year's data is also available at the Clean Air Branch website.

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