Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine Sunday, June 26, and are expected to reach unhealthy levels according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

On Saturday, ozone levels are expected to be unhealthy in southern New England. Ozone and its precursors would then be transported to Maine on Sunday. The unhealthy levels are expected along the coast from Kittery through Acadia National Park with moderate levels of ozone for the Downeast coastal region and the interior regions.

Ozone is created when emissions from smokestacks and motor vehicles interact with sunlight. Much of the pollution is generated south and west of Maine and blown into the state on warm summer days.

Ozone is considered at an unhealthy level when it reaches 70 parts per billion or greater for an eight hour period. The highest level reached in the past 24 hours at the monitoring station in Port Clyde was 44 which was reached at about midnight, Friday night, June 24.

At elevated ozone levels, children, healthy adults who exert themselves, and individuals suffering from a respiratory disease such as asthma, bronchitis or COPD can experience reduced lung function and irritation. When this happens, individuals may notice a shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in their chest.

According to the DEP, people can adjust their schedule to avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the afternoon.