Ground-level ozone is expected to reach unhealthy levels along the southern Maine coast from Kittery through Boothbay Harbor on Wednesday, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Interior areas from Sanford through Bangor and the midcoast region from Pemaquid through Acadia are expected to have moderate levels of ozone. Farther away from the coast air quality should remain in the Good range, the agency said.

At high ozone levels, individuals suffering from a respiratory disease such as asthma, as well as children and healthy active adults, can experience reduced lung function and irritation. Affected individuals may notice a shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation or an uncomfortable sensation in their chest.

To protect your health during periods of unhealthy air quality:

• Avoid strenuous activity, such as jogging, during mid-day.

• Close windows and circulate indoor air with a fan or air conditioner.

• Avoid using aerosol products such as cleaners, paints, and other lung irritants.

Ground level ozone is formed by chemical reactions between sunlight and nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds from motor vehicle and industrial emissions and consumer products such as paints and cleaners.

To help reduce emissions and ozone levels:

• Conserve electricity.

• Choose a cleaner commute, such as carpooling or using public transportation.

• Defer the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment until after dusk.

• Limit idling of vehicles.

• Refuel cars and trucks after dusk.

• Combine errands and reduce vehicle trips.

• Use environmentally-friendly paints and cleaning products with low VOC content.

For more information call DEP’s toll free ozone hotline at 1-800-223-1196 or visit DEP’s air quality website by going to

and select “Maine Air Quality Forecast.”