What to know about the dangers of wildfire smoke and particulate matter

What to know about the dangers of wildfire smoke and particulate matter

Smoke from wildfires from Canada has clouded much of the Northeast, leaving millions of Americans exposed to unhealthy levels of particulate matter.

Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of wildfire smoke and why it’s so toxic to your health.

What is considered a dangerous level of air quality?

Air quality is measured by the Environmental Protection Agencies Air Quality Index (AQI), which ranges from 0 to 500. A higher level indicates a higher level of pollution and health concern.

Levels below 100 are generally considered safe. Unhealthy levels range from 101 to 300, where more sensitive groups can experience symptoms at lower levels. The EPA provides an interactive map to monitor the air quality in your specific area.

In New York City, levels topped 400 in some areas this week. A value above 300 is considered dangerous, where everyone is likely to be affected by poor respiratory conditions.

Some hospitals have already seen patients suffering from bad air.

“We’ve seen a small increase in the number of patients presenting specifically with what we suspect is related to the environment, which includes things like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and even headaches,” Dr. Frederick Davis, vice president of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York, told ABC News.

What are the dangers of inhaling fire smoke?

Particulate matter (PM) are tiny pieces of solid or liquid in the air including dust, dirt, soot and smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Inhaled particles are typically classified into two groups: PM10 and PM2.5 the number representing the size across the particle in micrometres.

These particles are invisible to the human eye. The diameter of a human hair is nearly 30 times larger than one of these smallest particles.

While larger particles can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, smaller particles pose an even greater threat. They can get deep into your lungs or even your blood and cause long-term damage.

“The smaller particles are the dangerous ones. They can cause asthma. They can make you have immune responses that aren’t as good. You can have more colds, for example, more asthma,” Dr. Kari Nadeau, a professor at Harvard in the School of Public Health and chair of the environmental health department, he told ABC News.

“If you’re older, you can have more strokes and heart attacks. Over time, it can lead to an increase in cancer,” he added.

In fact, Nadeau estimates that an AQI of 150 is equivalent to smoking about seven cigarettes a day for someone who spends most of their time outdoors.

“We try to make the equivalent of a cigarette, but most likely the smoke from wildfires is much more toxic than a cigarette,” Nadeau said.

Who is most at risk?

Those who have lung conditions such as COPD or asthma, as well as those who suffer from heart disease, are at the highest risk from wildfire smoke.

Children and the elderly are also more likely to be affected.

“Those who are most at risk are those who have chronic underlying lung problems… others include those of extreme age, so those who are very old, very young, particularly due to underdeveloped lungs or older lungs that maybe can ‘ Not handling the larger amount of debris we see in the air,” Davis said.

Exposure to smoke from wildfires can lead to physical changes during pregnancy, and expectant mothers may be at risk of preterm birth or low birth weight babies.

What are the symptoms to watch out for?

While those who are more sensitive may be at risk for severe symptoms, anyone can become ill from smoke from wildfires.

Some of the immediate effects include coughing, difficulty breathing, sore throat and chest pain, according to the CDC.

Officials are warning residents to stay indoors as much as possible, use a tightly fitting N-95 mask when going outside, and try using an air filter at home if one is available.

#dangers #wildfire #smoke #particulate #matter

Smoke from Canadian wildfires envelops the east coast, disrupting daily life

Smoke from Canadian wildfires envelops the east coast, disrupting daily life

Smoke from hundreds of wildfires raging across Canada engulfed the eastern United States Wednesday, disrupting the daily lives of tens of millions of Americans, creating a sea of ​​red-coded air quality alerts as far away as the Carolinas and causing widespread health concerns.

Nowhere was the scene more eerie than in New York City, where a thick haze blanketed the Statue of Liberty, shrouded Manhattan skyscrapers, delayed a baseball game at Yankee Stadium and forced a temporary suspension of flights at LaGuardia Airport due to poor visibility. Mayor Eric Adams has recommended people wear masks outdoors and canceled outdoor city events.

For the second day in a row, New York City had some of the worst air quality of any major city on the planet. But that was hardly the only place to experience the eerie, eerie, throat-burning smoke that scientists say may become a more common occurrence in a warming world.

In Philadelphia, as elsewhere, schools have canceled field trips, moved recess indoors, and postponed track and field games. In Washington, where monuments along the National Mall were shrouded in afternoon darkness, commuters wore masks that had nothing to do with a pandemic for the first time in years.

It looks like Mars outside, said Dennis Scannell, the co-owner of a typically bustling but now quiet baseball and softball training facility in Syracuse. The city’s Air Quality Index, a measure of outdoor pollution, registered 402 late Wednesday morning. Healthy is considered under 50.

In Binghamton, NY, the office of the National Weather Service tweeted on the darkening sky just before 10:00 The sun is no longer visible, everything is orange, the parking lot lights have come on, it said, next to a photo of the otherworldly scene.

Early Wednesday, Canadian officials reported more than 400 active fires, with about 240 listed as out of control. The hardest-hit province is Quebec, where at least 154 fires have been recorded.

At the current rate, government officials said this week, Canada is on track to experience the worst wildfire season in its history. Already this year, some 2,300 fires have burned about 9.4 million acres, according to government figures. In the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia, unusually intense fires burned more land this year than in the past 10 years combined.

Hot, dry conditions will increase the risk of bushfires in most of Canada this month, according to the Canadian government, which also expects higher-than-normal fire activity to continue throughout the bushfire season. Drier weather and high temperatures fueled by a warmer atmosphere are exacerbating the damage, Canadian officials say.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of wildfires and creating longer fire seasons in Canada, Michael Norton, a Canadian Forest Service official, told reporters earlier this week. Historical averages increasingly fail to reflect what we might see in the future, which is why the word unprecedented is being used more and more.

Unprecedented also seemed like a fair way to describe the sheer scale and intensity of the smoke that cloaked much of the East Coast Wednesday.

Deteriorating air quality prompted fresh warnings from officials throughout the day, as part of Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and elsewhere have been upgraded to a red or unhealthy air quality alert. In Boston, the National Weather Service She said smoke could linger in southern New England through Thursday.

Government data on Wednesday afternoon showed a surprising swath of unhealthy air stretching from parts of upstate New York as far east as Connecticut, and south beyond Richmond to North Carolina. Parts of New York and Pennsylvania had eclipsed thresholds for very unhealthy or even dangerous air quality.

Exposure to smoke from wildfires can irritate the eyes, throat and sinuses, causing coughing and making it difficult to breathe normally. An insidious type of pollution made up of fine particles, common in smoke and soot and known as PM2.5, can also pose more serious problems for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant women and children. It can exacerbate conditions such as asthma and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes in some populations.

Many Americans traditionally think of wildfires as a problem largely confined to the West, where massive and deadly wildfires have destroyed parts of California, Oregon, Washington and other states in recent years.

But smoke from large fires can travel across the country, covering large population centers. A 2021 study documented how smoke from both western wildfires and local sources may be more harmful to residents of the eastern United States than many realize.

Scientists also detailed how a warming world can fuel increasingly intense fires. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of some of the leading researchers on the planet, has said that unless humans dramatically reduce the burning of fossil fuels, it is likely that fire seasons will lengthen and more areas they will burn.

Marshall Burke, an associate professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University, said the fires are directly related to a major heat event that has occurred across Canada in recent weeks, noting the clear climate links.

While historically these events have been very rare, I think all the evidence suggests they will become less rare in the future as the climate warms, he said. So this is something we have to learn to prepare for.

At the White House on Wednesday, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that President Biden was receiving regular updates on the fires and that the United States has deployed more than 600 firefighters and personnel, as well as equipment such as water bombers, to help Canada fight the hells.

On the floor of the Senate, Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) took time out to complain about wildfires of unnatural strength that continue to burn in Canada, sending toxic air and smoke across the border and over American cities .

Like many other public officials, he urged those in the path of the smoke to take individual precautions. But he also called the situation a reminder of the dangers posed by a hotter planet.

We cannot ignore that climate change continues to make these disasters worse. Warmer temperatures and severe droughts mean forests burn faster, hotter and bigger, Schumer said. This smoke and fog over New York and the rest of the Northeast is nature’s warning that we have a lot of work to do to reverse the destruction of climate change.

But Wednesday, in towns large and small along the East Coast, there was little to do but wait, hope that the distant fires would somehow die down and that the noxious cloud of the past few days would soon lift.

Six-year-old Mikhail Williams missed recess after it was canceled by his school in the district. Mikhail and his father, Duane Williams, played tag in a downtown park, where they noticed the effect of the smoke.

It’s like when you swallow sand, Elder Williams said. I feel the phlegm building up in the back of my throat.

My eyes burn, said Mikhail.

Do you know where the fire is? asked his grandmother, Donna Williams, 66.

Antarctica? the boy answered. Can you say Canada? his father asked.

New York residents and tourists reacted to smoke from the Canadian wildfire that continued to veil the city on June 7. (Video: Joyce Koh/The Washington Post)

New Yorkers, some of whom have whipped out their pandemic-era face coverings, meandered through the smoke that had descended to street level. The yellowish tint darkened the horizon in every direction. Some complained that their eyes were sore; others said they developed a cough. Adams (D) said the city’s air quality index hit 484 Wednesday as of 5 p.m.

Mark Strauss, 58, said the last time he remembers this type of air quality problem uptown was after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when we received smoke from the downtown site, he said . You could see smoke in the sky. It was similar to that.

In Oswego County, north of Syracuse, where air pollution skyrocketed to dangerous levels Wednesday, Joseph Provost was among those buttoned up in his home, along with his wife and children. He’s got asthma, and ever since the smoke from the fires came in, he’s been feeling it: scratchy throat, chest congestion, some difficulty breathing.

He made sure all windows remained closed. His inhaler was close at hand.

I probably won’t go out unless it’s absolutely necessary, she said. It’s that bad.

Outside of Rochester, where he spent 30 years as a meteorologist, Richard McCollough got up Wednesday to start his morning shift broadcasting the forecast on WDKX, a local radio station.

From his window, he saw a scene bathed in an orange glow. Visibility had dropped to less than a mile. McCollough has worked in Los Angeles and Cincinnati in the past and knows exactly how the right combination of fire and wind can produce a smoky haze that blankets a city.

He never expected to see him outside his farm in upstate New York. On Wednesday he did something for the first time ever at his current job: provide an air quality alert.

That’s never happened before, said McCollough, 62. I’ve never had to do it on the air.

Amudalat Ajasa, Matthew Cappucci, Amanda Coletta, Dan Diamond, Emmanuel Felton, Ian Livingston, Justine McDaniel, Mary Claire Molloy, Joshua Partlow, and Joanna Slater contributed to this report.


#Smoke #Canadian #wildfires #envelops #east #coast #disrupting #daily #life

Millions of people breathe dangerous air as smoke from Canadian wildfires billows south over the United States

Millions of people breathe dangerous air as smoke from Canadian wildfires billows south over the United States

NEW YORK (AP) Smoke from Canadian wildfires has poured into the East Coast and Midwest of the United States Wednesday, blanketing both nations’ capitals in an unhealthy haze, grounding flights at major airports, postponing Major League Baseball games and prompting people to dig up the face masks of the pandemic era.

Canadian officials have asked other countries for more help fight more than 400 wildfires nationwide that have already displaced 20,000 people. Dangerous levels of air pollution spread across the New York metropolitan area, central New York state, and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Huge tongues of unhealthy air extended as far north as North Carolina and Indiana, affecting millions.

I can taste the air, Dr. Ken Strumpf said in a Facebook post from Syracuse, New York, which was wrapped in a pall of amber. The smoke, he later said by phone, also made him a little dizzy.

The Air Quality Index, a United States Environmental Protection Agency metric for air pollution, has at times exceeded a staggering 400 in Syracuse, New York City, and Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. A level of 50 or lower is considered good; anything above 300 is considered dangerous, when even healthy people are advised to reduce outdoor physical activity.

In Baltimore, Debbie Funk sported a blue surgical mask as she and husband, Jack Hughes, took their daily stroll around Fort McHenry, a national monument that overlooks the Patapsco River. The air hung thick over the water, darkening the horizon.

I went out this morning and it was like a cloud of smoke, Funk said.

Canadian officials say this is shaping up to be the nation’s worst fire season ever. It started early on drier than usual ground and accelerated very quickly, depleting firefighting resources across the country, firefighters and environmental officials said.

Smoke from fires in various parts of the country has reached the United States since last month, but has intensified with the recent fires in Quebec, where about 100 were deemed out of control on Wednesday which, ominously, was National Air Day cleaned in Canada.

The smoke was so thick in downtown Ottawa, Canada’s capital, that the office towers just across the Ottawa River were barely visible. In Toronto, Yili Ma said her hiking plans were canceled and she was forgoing restaurant patios, a beloved Canadian summer tradition.

I put the mask away for over a year and have now been wearing it since yesterday, the 31-year-old complained.

Quebec Premier François Legault said the province currently has the capacity to fight about 40 fires and the usual reinforcements from other provinces were strained by the conflagrations in Nova Scotia and elsewhere.

Jennifer Kamau, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, said more than 950 firefighters and other personnel had arrived from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, with more to come soon.

In Washington, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden has sent more than 600 firefighters and equipment to Canada. His administration has reached out to some US governors and local officials to provide assistance, he said.

Northern Quebec’s largest city, Chibougamau, with a population of about 7,500, was evacuated on Tuesday, and Legault said the roughly 4,000 residents of the northern Cree town of Mistissini would likely have to leave on Wednesday. But later, Mistissini’s boss Michael Petawabano said his community remains safe and asked residents to wait for instructions from Cree officials.

Eastern Quebec had rain Wednesday, but Montreal-based Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Legault said no significant rain was expected for days in remote areas of central Quebec, where fires are most intense.

U.S. National Weather Service meteorologist Zach Taylor said the current weather pattern in the central and eastern United States is essentially funneling into smoke. Some rain should help clear some air in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic this weekend or early next week, though more complete relief will come from containing or extinguishing the wildfires, he said. said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said 1 million N95 masks will be available at state facilities. New York City beaches were closed and Mayor Eric Adams told residents to stay indoors as much as possible as smoke stained the horizon. The Bronx and Central Park zoos closed early and brought their animals inside. The popular Shakespeare in the Park show has been cancelled.

The Federal Aviation Administration suspended some flights to LaGuardia Airport and slowed planes to Newark Liberty and Philadelphia because smoke limited visibility. It also helped delay arrivals at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, where a thick haze shrouded the Washington Monument and forced the cancellation of outdoor tours.

Major League Baseball has postponed games in New York and Philadelphia, and even an indoor WNBA game in Brooklyn has been cancelled. On Broadway, Killing Eve star Jodie Comer had trouble breathing and left the matinee after 10 minutes; the show has restarted with a replacement, the show’s publicists said.

Schools in multiple states have canceled sports and other outdoor activities, moving recess indoors. Live horse racing was canceled Wednesday and Thursday at Delaware Park in Wilmington. Organizers of Global Running Day, a virtual 5K, advised attendees to adjust their plans based on air quality.

New Jersey closed state offices early, and some political rallies in venues from Manhattan to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania were moved indoors or postponed. Hollywood’s extraordinary writers have been pulled off the picket lines in the New York metropolitan area.

Smoking has exacerbated the health problems of people like Vicki Burnett, 67, who suffers from asthma and has had severe bouts of bronchitis.

After walking his dogs Wednesday morning in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Burnett said, I went in and started coughing and went back to bed.

However, she stressed that she was worried about Canadians, not just herself.

It’s a shame, and I have problems with it, but there should be help for them, she said.

___

Gillies reported from Toronto. Contributors were Associated Press reporters Randall Chase of Dover, Delaware; Michael Hill in Albany, New York; David Koenig in Dallas; Aamer Madhani in Washington; Brooke Schultz in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Lea Skene in Baltimore; Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York; Ron Todt in Philadelphia; Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Michigan; and Mark Kennedy, Jake Offenhartz, Karen Matthews and Julie Walker in New York.

___

This story corrected the attribution of Quebec rain forecast material to Montreal-based meteorologist Simon Legault of Environment Canada, not Quebec Premier François Legault.

#Millions #people #breathe #dangerous #air #smoke #Canadian #wildfires #billows #south #United #States

How to protect your pet from poor air quality amid wildfire smoke

A person walks dogs along the Brooklyn promenade Wednesday as the Manhattan skyline is shrouded in haze after smoke billows south from wildfires in Canada.

Pets

June 7, 2023 | 6.30pm


Keep Sparky away from Smokey!

New York City’s air was officially deemed more polluted than any other major city in the world on Wednesday, as thick smoke from wildfires burning hundreds of miles away in Canada crept into the city for a second day.

As clouds of smoke continue to choke much of the Northeast over the weekend, residents in affected areas are wondering how to protect themselves and their loved ones, including man’s best friend.

The air quality index already reached 343 on Wednesday afternoon, much worse than New Delhi’s 190 and New York’s normal index of 100.

The air was the worst since the 1980s, even after the 9/11 attacks, meteorologists said.

Rover’s pet experts are considering ways to protect pets from dangerous conditions, suggesting:

  • Close all windows
  • Use air conditioning if possible to help filter the air
  • Keep potty breaks short, avoid long walks and other prolonged outdoor exercise
  • Keep your dog well hydrated

A person walks dogs along the Brooklyn promenade Wednesday as the Manhattan skyline is shrouded in haze after smoke billows south from wildfires in Canada.
REUTERS

Times Square takes on an eerie orange glow in the wake of the wildfires in Canada.
REUTERS

Smoke inhalation in pets can be as serious a problem as it is in humans and can lead to increased or chronic coughing, sneezing and red, squinting or runny eyes.

In severe cases, some pets may experience disorientation or confusion, fainting, seizures, difficulty breathing, weakness or lethargy, uncoordinated walking/inability to stand, excessive salivation, prolonged open mouth breathing, swelling of the mouth or upper airways , vomiting or loss of appetite.

Experts advise pet lovers to watch out for signs of respiratory distress and eye inflammation. If a pet is showing symptoms, owners should call a veterinarian right away.

While pet parents may do their best to keep their four-legged friends safe and sound, some dogs are at an increased risk of suffering from respiratory problems, including dogs with asthma or bronchitis, puppies and older dogs, bulldogs, Boston terriers and pugs.


A lone person jogs a dog along the Hudson River shortly after dawn Wednesday. Smoke inhalation in pets can be as serious a problem as it is for humans, experts warn.
REUTERS

Bronx subway passengers wait for a train in the haze of smoke from the wildfires drifting down from Canada.
Getty Images

A person wears a mask as the Empire State Building is shrouded in smoke.
REUTERS

Fido isn’t the only one protected from bad weather.

Zoos in the Bronx, Central Park and Queens are all closing in an effort to protect the animals from the thick clouds of smoke.

Everything you need to know about smoke from NYC wildfires

New York City’s air has been heavily polluted with thick smoke from the Canadian wildfires burning hundreds of miles away.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams warned residents to stay inside to avoid exposure.

The haze wafting from Quebec posed a threat to healthy adults as well.



New York’s air quality has become one of the worst in the world as ominous orange smog from wildfires near Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia continues to settle in the region, according to IQair.

Air quality is expected to remain hazardous throughout the weekend.

TO KNOW MORE

All five boroughs were under an air quality health alert through Thursday morning as winds drove southward smoke from more than 150 forest fires in Quebec, 110 of which were thought to be out of control .

Unhealthy air and smoke are expected to persist in the five boroughs through Sunday.




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Delivery drivers share what it’s like to deliver in the dangerous smoke of wildfires

Delivery drivers share what it's like to deliver in the dangerous smoke of wildfires

new york under yellow smoke

Image credit: Getty Images

Package delivery drivers worked through smoke from wildfires in New York City on Wednesday, even as air quality became “hazardous” in the afternoon and clouds of pungent yellow smog descended on the city. The drivers said that despite the outdoor conditions, UPS did not change their schedules or take any precautions to protect them from the smoke, including providing masks.

“Normally during lunch, I open the back door, lay down. But today, the overwhelming smell of smoke literally kept me coughing awake,” said Dave Carew, a UPS driver with Teamsters Local 804, the union branch responsible for New York City, Long Island and parts of New Jersey. “I have allergies too. So in the last couple of days my allergies have gone off the charts. I’ve been talking to other drivers all day, they’re all coughing.”

Carew had been on the road since about 10 that morning, when air quality was classified as “unhealthy” by the US government, due to smoke from rampant Canadian bushfires drifting south. At that point, Carew and other drivers confirmed, management had given them no guidance to protect themselves from smoking or to make their trips more comfortable. He added that trucks driven by UPS couriers lack adequate air conditioning or any form of air filtration and are usually driven with their doors open to speed up the delivery process and help cope with the heat.

As a result, he had been inhaling smog all day. “[The other drivers] they’re all doing the same thing I do,” she said. “We’ll have a normal conversation, and one of us will have a coughing fit, or we’ll both have a coughing fit.” Here, Carew broke off and coughed vigorously.

Reddit is also full of posts from Amazon delivery men who say they are concerned about working through smoke, which has made New York City the most dangerous air in the world. The posts show that Amazon also put drivers in Canada to work through the fires. An Amazon spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Visibility is also decreased due to smoke, which poses a particular risk to drivers. “It looks like I’m driving in fog,” Carew said. “And when it goes down enough for the sun to show, it always seems to be sunset. The shadows are all orange.

A UPS spokesperson told Motherboard in a statement that, “We are closely monitoring this rapidly developing Canadian wildfire smoke situation affecting air quality in parts of the United States. The well-being and safety of UPS employees is our number one priority.” They said the company was working on “a series of immediate actions,” including distributing masks, and was monitoring the situation.

“[Management] sent the message about 10 minutes ago which said, “Wear a mask if you don’t feel well,” Carew said, laughing, at around 3:45pm “They don’t care.”

Anthony Rosario, a former UPS driver who now works with Local 804, said management at his location had simply told the drivers they were waiting for directions from the company to decide whether to bring them back.

“One of the supervisors said [a driver], ‘This is no different than a snowstorm. We’re just waiting for the company to tell us to bring you back,’” Rosario said. “What? They’re comparing the toxic air to a snowstorm. It’s pretty awful.

Rosario said that since there was no effective way to keep the smog out of trucks, UPS could have done nothing to protect its drivers other than providing good masks, the most effective option being N95s.

“Drivers should get some kind of risk allowance for that,” Rosario said. “It’s like working during the pandemic. You’re out there, you’re risking your life, there’s a virus out there that’s killing people. Now, it seems, New York has become the worst city in the world for air quality. They are telling the elderly to stay home and young children to stay home. These workers are out there doing their jobs and nobody is telling them to go back.”

“There are guys that will be out there 12, 13 hours,” Carew said. “It’s not bad enough that he literally can’t breathe. But it’s not a good day.”

#Delivery #drivers #share #deliver #dangerous #smoke #wildfires

Smoke from Wildfires: How to Minimize Health Risks | Cnn

Smoke from Wildfires: How to Minimize Health Risks |  Cnn



Cnn

Millions of people across the US are on air quality alerts as smoke from Canadian bushfires wafts along the East Coast. Some schools in New York and Washington are canceling outdoor activities and airports are experiencing delays or ground stops due to poor visibility.

Smoking can also cause health problems such as breathing difficulties, burning eyes, dizziness, headaches or nausea. Doctors say people whose symptoms are getting worse should get medical attention.

Here’s what they want everyone to know about staying healthy and avoiding problems when the air is thick with smoke.

Why does smoke from wildfires make it so hard to breathe?

This is like a tiny, tiny particulate that gets deep into your airways. It is not an allergen; it is an irritant. And so an irritant can hit anyone’s lungs and make you start coughing and feel that itchy throat, said Dr. Shilpa Patel, medical director of Children’s National IMPACT DC Asthma Clinic in Washington. If you look at the air quality index, it’s in the purple zone, which I don’t see that often in the purple zone in our area.

What is the air quality index and what does it tell us?
It is a conglomerate of measurements. So it’s not just particulate, it has multiple inputs emitted by the [US Environmental Protection Agency] which determines what kind of pollution is in the air right now. AirNow.gov is the same thing meteorologists use when they talk about green, yellow, orange, red, purple color codes, Patel said.

Dr. Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor in Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, says the website should be a regular stop for everyone.

I would connect AirNow.gov to your phone or computer and control how people get the weather forecast on their phones or from their smart speakers, he said. This is a site maintained by federal agencies with the most up-to-date information, both from measurements and forecasts, about air quality and what to expect. So just plugging it in as a tool for people to find out where places are interested and what they can expect tomorrow and the next day works really well.

Who is most vulnerable to health problems when air quality is poor?

This kind of air quality, which is really poor right here in the Northeast, almost immediately causes problems for people with asthma or allergies if they stay outside for any length of time, said Dr. Aida Capo. Pulmonologist at Hackensack Meridian Palisades Medical. Center in New Jersey.

This air is especially dangerous for the very young, the elderly and pregnant women. Hence it is recommended that they do not spend time outdoors. Absolutely forbidden to play outdoors and do not exercise outdoors. If you feel so inclined to exercise outdoors on a day like today, you’ll want to be away from traffic, where there’s no further pollution. Because right now, it’s really bad, he said.

This could also be a problem for people with long Covid who have respiratory problems.

Clearly, any further insult to their lungs will be detrimental to their health. As with any kind of chronic condition, they need to take precautions, said Dr. David Rosenberg, a lung disease specialist at UH Ahuja Medical Center in Cleveland, where residents are also seeing poor air quality conditions due to smoke from the wildfires. Probably though, with all these particulates at these levels, even if you’re healthy, it has the potential to irritate your lungs and cause problems for everyone, no question.

Why is bad air quality so hard on children and the elderly?

It has to do with the ability to expectorate, Patel said. So it’s hard to get everything in your lungs out. When you’re really young or old, your muscles are weaker, so the older and younger just have less strength. With a viral illness, it’s the same thing: You’re not able to clear your mucus easily. And older people have far more chronic conditions that can exacerbate these problems.

Also with children, they have smaller airways, so even a little inflammation or mucus in the airways reduces the little space they have and this can affect their ability to breathe.

Rosenberg said the small particles can also be a problem for young adults, likely because their lungs haven’t fully developed. Lungs continue to grow and develop into their 20s, so if they have this added insult to their breathing, these particles can be particularly harmful to children and young adults as well.

Is there a way to protect people while they are out?

We have some natural protection. Our nose hairs can protect us from many of these particles. But these are really small particles from the fires, so it’s not enough, Capo said.

The recommendation is not to be outside, but if you want to wear a mask to help, by all means wear one and then make sure it’s an N95, not a surgical mask. A surgical mask will not protect you from these particles entering the airways, because it is not enough. If you have to be outdoors for an extended period of time, an N95 will reduce some of these small particles in your airways, but they have to be worn appropriately, and it’s difficult to wear an N95 for an extended period of time, she said. .

Patel recommends cutting back on strenuous physical activity that requires deep breathing. If you have to walk, walk, but I wouldn’t go jogging or running.

Be conservative about your decision to be out, she added. And keep in mind that even if you date and it doesn’t bother you, it could affect you later. Because these are small particulates, so they get deep into your airways and the response may be a bit delayed.

According to Rosenberg, these particulates are particularly irritating to the upper airways, nose or throat, and eyes, so if you feel anything like this, it’s a warning sign. We have sensitive neurological sensors that can act as an alarm meaning you are potentially breathing in something harmful, so you should heed that warning and go inside.

People with pets will need to get out, but experts suggest keeping time and travel to a minimum.

Pets need to get out and use their facilities, but not go out running with them, and minimize their time outdoors as well, DeCarlo said. If you can, walk a little slower so you don’t breathe so deeply. This can help.

What should people with asthma, allergies or heart problems do if they have to go out?

One of the recommendations for people with asthma is to use their rescue inhaler 15 minutes before going outside in this kind of air quality, Capo said. If you have any kind of disease whether it’s asthma, allergy or cardiovascular disease that you are under treatment and have a doctor and if you use your medicines, you can reduce the risk of the disease getting worse in this type of air quality.

Patel also advises people with asthma to make sure they have their rescue inhaler, which is usually albuterol, and to make sure you use it correctly with an AeroChamber, a plastic tube with a mouthpiece that increases the effectiveness of the medicine and helps check how the medicine is given. to the small airways in the lungs. Start it early and don’t wait for symptoms to get worse – then this probably means the first sign of a cough or irritation – go ahead and use it. There is no harm in starting the inhaler. And then, if that doesn’t help, contact your primary care physician or seek additional care if you or your child are having difficulty breathing.

What helps indoor air quality?

The recommendation is to close the windows, turn on the air conditioners, turn on the air filters, Capo said.

DeCarlo agrees. Indoor environments are generally about half or less of the concentration of air pollutants from outdoors when it comes to particles, which is what we are concerned with here. And it all disappears as soon as you open the windows and doors and let in the free-flowing air, he said. People who have invested in HEPA air filtration units during Covid, it might be time to take them out again and manage those indoor spaces where we need to minimize our exposure to outdoor air pollution.

Avoid vacuuming for two reasons: You’re probably going to stir things up, and that’s a bit more physical activity if you throw a vacuum cleaner all over the place and you’ll breathe more heavily. So it’s probably something you should avoid, DeCarlo said.

Can allergy medicine help?

It’s not necessarily like allergies. It’s irritating, although I imagine some people may be allergic and have an allergic component to it, Patel said. An antihistamine dries us out, so it could potentially help even if the mechanism is different, meaning the reason you have excess mucus production is different. It will help dry you out, then help unclog your sinuses. It won’t help as much with the anti-itch, I think. But if someone has an allergic component to the smoke from the fire then they should get it.

Can old-fashioned advice like drinking lots of water, eating mints, or drinking strong coffee to breathe easier help?

Drinking water is always very useful. So I’m not going to say no to that, but it’s not going to stop symptoms from being exposed to this poor air quality, Capo said.

Are smoke from wildfires and air quality a long-term health concern?

For this week, that’s just one situation where we have some days of pretty bad air quality. It’s early summer for many of us who are parents, and maybe we can use this as an opportunity to not run as much until this bad air quality passes, DeCarlo said.

We expect fires to become more frequent in a warming climate, which is what we have. We typically see these impacts with wildfires in the Western US and Western Mountain. The east coast is generally a little more isolated from this sort of thing. Our forests tend to be wetter and don’t burn much, but looking ahead with climate change, while this is a unique experience that we’re seeing right now, it could become much less unique and a little more common in the future, which that would be unfortunate.

#Smoke #Wildfires #Minimize #Health #Risks #Cnn

Real-Time Air Quality Updates: Smoke from Canadian bushfires affects millions of people across the United States

Real-Time Air Quality Updates: Smoke from Canadian bushfires affects millions of people across the United States

14 million ago / 4:04 PM EDT

UN secretary-general calls for more efforts to limit wildfires in a warming world

15 million ago / 4:03 PM EDT

Google tells employees in New York and along the East Coast to work from home

Google is telling its East Coast employees to stay home as smoke from wildfires fills the air in New York and other major cities.

Managers at the company’s New York site wrote in a memo to area workers that air quality in many parts of the region had reached unhealthy levels, citing the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation. In New York, most employees are expected to work from physical offices at least three days a week.

We’re advising Googlers to work from home if possible and limit their exposure to the outside air, according to the note, obtained by CNBC. The terraces on our New York campus will be closed today.

Read the full story at CNBC.com

29 million ago / 3:49 pm EDT

Striking images show the New York skyline on Monday compared to today

34 million ago / 3:44 pm EDT

Black residents of Detroit prepare for tougher conditions

Detroit’s air quality is among the worst in the world due to wildfires in Canada, potentially exacerbating many health issues that residents of the predominantly black city have struggled with for generations.

Detroit resident Sandra Turner-Handy, a Michigan Environmental Council retiree, said that before the fires, locals regularly breathed in particulate matter and other toxins. She said she is particularly concerned about the effects of the fires on those who live near the Detroit River, an area sought after for industrial use and which contains high levels of pollution.

He said Detroit’s asthma rates are three times those of other cities in our state.

Turner-Handy, who has emphysema, a lung disease that causes wheezing, calls Detroit’s pollution problem an environmental injustice and worries how smoking could spread in her area, potentially impacting her own health .

I fear anything that will impact my respiratory health, she said. I am very afraid.

Communities of color and low-income populations are exposed to higher levels of atmospheric fine particulate matter PM2.5 than other groups in the United States, according to a study conducted last year by Harvard University. A 2020 survey by the Environmental Defense Fund found that 58 percent of black adults living in Detroit are twice as likely as white residents to worry about air pollution in their communities. Poor air quality conditions are even worse in regions like Southwest Detroit, whose residents experience asthma hospitalization rates three times the state average.

Experts like Jessie Singer, author of There Are No Accidents, said recent air pollution only illustrates the ways Black communities are made more vulnerable to environmental disasters and climate change through infrastructure and policy decisions. For example, blacks are more likely to live where there is greater exposure to air pollution due to residential segregation, according to the American Lung Association.

Systemic racism defines whether or not you have the excess money to have an air cleaner in your home, Singer said. If you have less access to health care, if you grow up in a polluted environment, if you don’t have the economic freedom to take time off work, then when a fire happens, you’re more vulnerable.

32 million ago / 3:46 pm EDT

Jodie Comer-starring Broadway show briefly halted after star has ‘difficulty breathing’

Today’s matinee performance of the Broadway production of “Prima Facie” was briefly interrupted after the show’s star, Emmy Award-winning actor Jodie Comer, experienced “difficulty breathing,” according to a production spokeswoman.

The show was “interrupted approximately 10 minutes into the show after Jodie Comer had difficulty breathing due to poor air quality in New York City due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires,” a spokeswoman for The Press Room, a theatrical advertising company.

The spokeswoman said the performance had to start “from the top” with understudy Dani Arlington filling in for Comer as Tessa.

Comer is best known for her co-starring role in the twisty BBC America spy thriller ‘Killing Eve’.

1 hour ago / 3:13pm EDT

New York City’s air quality is officially the worst in the world

Current air quality in New York City reached more than 340 on the air quality index scale this afternoon, making it the worst in the world, according to IQAir, a Swiss monitoring service.

49 million ago / 3:29 pm EDT

Is it safe to exercise outdoors when the air quality is poor?

As air quality continues to plummet, runners may want to rethink their plans, experts say.

An air quality index above 150 signals that outdoor exercise can be risky, said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, pulmonologist of the American Lung Association.

It’s like swimming in polluted water, he said.

You’ll get irritated, probably 20 minutes into the ride, Galiatsatos said. You’ll develop a cough, a little dryness, and you might even get a little more out of breath because what you’re trying to do is some level of resistance, but your lungs aren’t breathing healthy air, they’re breathing toxins, they’re breathing noxious stimuli. You will feel that toll.

Read the full story here.

46 million ago / 3:32 pm EDT

414 wildfires in Canada, more than 200 of which are out of control

There are 414 wildfires burning in Canada to date, 239 of which are considered out of control, Canadian Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said at a news conference.

To date, approximately 20,183 people remain displaced from homes and communities.

It’s all hands on deck and it’s been all day, Blair said of the government’s response to the fires.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said hundreds of members of the military have been deployed to provide additional support to firefighters and affected communities.

Washington is also lending support, with the US Forest Service providing 648 people to date.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters today that President Joe Biden was briefed on the fires last week and has been updated regularly since. The United States has also sent equipment such as water bombers, he said.


#RealTime #Air #Quality #Updates #Smoke #Canadian #bushfires #affects #millions #people #United #States

How did the wildfires start in Canada? A look at what’s fueling the fires that have blanketed the East Coast in smoke

How did the wildfires start in Canada?  A look at what's fueling the fires that have blanketed the East Coast in smoke

Over the past six weeks, massive wildfires have swept across Canada prompting mass evacuations and burning more than 3.3 million acres of land, larger than the state of Maryland.

While Canada’s fire season runs from May to October, such destruction early in the season is rare. A month later, Canada is on track to have its most destructive wildfire season in history. Extreme temperatures and drought caused by climate change have created a powder keg.

This Canadian crisis has not been limited to the Far North. Smoke from the wildfires spread across much of the United States, affecting air quality for millions across the East Coast, as wildfires rage with no signs of stopping.

Why is Canada burning?

Hot, dry conditions are like firewood for fires. Much of Canada, like the rest of North America, has recently experienced record heat and drought as climate change continues to warm the planet.

Late last month, Canada experienced its hottest day ever when Lytton, British Columbia hit 49.6 degrees Celsius, 121 degrees Fahrenheit, shattering the previous record by 131 degrees. It bound Death Valley in California as the hottest place in North America that day.

In the Canadian prairies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba – where fires are now raging – the drought has hit particularly hard. According to the Canada Drought Monitor, all 10 provinces are currently experiencing abnormal drought, moderate or severe drought.

According to the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System, the destruction caused by these fires up to this point in the season was 13 times worse than the 10-year average.

While New York City choked under thick smog it turned the skies orange and wrapped its skyscrapers and the Statue of LibertySen. Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday that climate change is driving the smoke blanketing the East Coast.

“These wildfires in Canada are truly unprecedented, and we cannot ignore that climate change continues to make these disasters worse,” he said. “Hotter temperatures and severe droughts mean forests are burning faster, hotter and bigger, and warming is happening at a faster rate in countries with higher latitudes. None of this – none of this is a coincidence “.

How did the wildfires start in Canada?

Dry, hot weather also generates more lightning. In a normal season, half of the fires in Canada are caused by lightning, but these fires account for more than 85% of the fire destruction. The other half is man-made.

In Quebec, for example, fires were started by lightning strikes, but Alberta officials said the cause of the fires was currently unknown. In other parts of the country, these fires have been man-made in a variety of ways, from discarded cigarette butts to sparks from passing trains.

Why are the wildfires in Canada out of control?

Harsh weather conditions are fueling these rapidly spreading fires, making them extremely difficult to fight.

The country is currently at “national preparedness level 5,” meaning that Canada has committed all of its national resources to mobilizing firefighting.

Chris Stockdale, a forest fire research officer with the Canadian Forest Service, told CBS News late last month that, as part of that “level 5” declaration, “international liaison officers” from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are arriving to help fight the fires.

Firefighters are also arriving from the U.S. More than 1,200 international firefighters have been deployed to Canada, the Canadian Press reported.

And the forecasts are hopeless. On Monday, the Canadian government released an updated forecast for the wildfire season saying “Current June projections indicate the potential for continued above-normal wildfire activity across much of the country during the 2023 wildfire season due to of the ongoing drought and the long-range forecast for warm temperatures.”


#wildfires #start #Canada #whats #fueling #fires #blanketed #East #Coast #smoke

Smoke from wildfires makes New York City’s air quality worst in the world

Animation showing smoke from a wildfire in the eastern United States

Millions of people in the eastern United States and Canada received health warnings from environmental regulators as thick smoke from northern bushfires wafted through cities from Ottawa to New York.

Canada has been battling an active wildfire season with wildfires in most of its 10 provinces and territories for most of last month. Smoke from the wildfires wafted south through some of North America’s most populous cities this week.

New York’s air quality ranked Wednesday as the worst of any major urban area in the world, surpassing New Delhi, according to the IQAir World Air Quality Index.

New York residents have once again donned the masks they had recently abandoned as the Covid-19 emergency subsided. Schools have canceled outdoor activities and the city has urged vulnerable New Yorkers to stay inside and keep their windows closed.

Animation showing smoke from a wildfire in the eastern United States

Yesterday, New Yorkers saw and smelled something that had never hit us on this scale before, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday morning, noting that the event sent shockwaves throughout the city.

After easing Wednesday morning, New York officials predicted that conditions would deteriorate again into the afternoon and into the evening, calling it a multi-day event. The U.S. aviation regulator on Wednesday afternoon issued ground delays for flights to LaGuardia Airports in Philadelphia, Newark and New York, citing poor visibility for pilots.

Washington public schools also suspended outdoor activities for pupils as the city’s environmental regulator issued a Code Red air quality alert for the District of Columbia.

Canada’s environmental regulator has classified air quality in Ottawa, the country’s capital, as having the highest level of health risk. Large swathes of Quebec and Ontario have been subject to an air quality alert by Canadian authorities.

Smoke rises from fires in Quebec and Ontario in a satellite image

Smoke rises from wildfires in Quebec and Ontario in an AP satellite image

Smoke from wildfires in Montreal, Quebec

Smoke from wildfires in Montreal, Quebec Allen McInnis/Bloomberg

Earlier this spring, fires in Canada’s main oil-producing province of Alberta forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes and forced more than a dozen oil and gas companies to temporarily shut down or reduce operations.

More fires have now taken hold in the forests of eastern provinces such as Quebec and Nova Scotia. More than 400 wildfires have been active across Canada as of Wednesday, with about 4 million hectares burned so far this year, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.

Scientists have observed that fires in the northern hemisphere’s boreal forests have increased in intensity over the past decade, with average temperatures across the planet’s north rising faster than near the equator due to global warming, such as snow reflective and the ice of the arctic has melted.

Fires north of the equator are generally becoming more frequent and intense as the planet warms and summers get hotter. May 2023 ranked globally as the second warmest May on record, according to the EU’s Copernicus Observation Service.

Heat records were broken in parts of Asia, particularly China and Vietnam, where unseasonably warm weather kicked in months earlier than the usual July and August summers. Parts of Siberia also set all-time records last week.

Sea surface temperatures were the highest on record for the month and have been at near record highs since March.

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#Smoke #wildfires #York #Citys #air #quality #worst #world

Even healthy adults are at risk from smoke from Canadian wildfires: Experts

A woman wearing a face mask in New York City during poor air quality on June 7, 2023.

Meter

June 7, 2023 | 1:56 pm


Even healthy, fit adults would do well to stay indoors and take it easy as plumes of smoke from wildfires choke the air with an eerie orange haze over the New York City area, according to experts.

Thick clouds descending from Quebec are expected to hang over the city for days, releasing countless dangerous particles into the air, doctors say.

While children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with respiratory problems should heed Mayor Eric Adams’ advice and stay indoors Wednesday, others would do well to follow suit, Dr Kenneth Spaeth told The Post .

While the risk is low for an otherwise healthy person, it’s nothing. There’s a real risk, said Spaeth, who is the chief of occupational and environmental medicine at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park.

It doesn’t take long to have mild symptoms of eye irritation, throat irritation which is kind of the minimal occurrence of symptoms that can arise in these settings, she said.


Even healthy adults were advised to stay inside if possible as the city was besieged by smoke from the fires on Wednesday.
Billy Becerra/NY Post

He definitely deserves to be cautious and not spend, you know, long periods outdoors if it could be helped and certainly avoid things that are strenuous in nature while outdoors.

New York’s air was more polluted than any other major city in the world Tuesday night, and remained at levels thought unhealthy Wednesday afternoon as more than 100 wildfires declared out of control by officials burn across Canada’s upstate province.


Thick clouds descending from Quebec are expected to hang over New York for days.
REUTERS

This isn’t COVID where you had a virus, where you had a relatively large particle in the air compared to some of the gases we were talking about, Spaeth said, explaining how healthy people could get sick, even if they’re wearing an N95 mask, which he recommends.

There’s a lot of what we call combustion products from the combustion process and when you have the sheer volume of what’s burning the vastness of these fires, that’s a huge amount of pollution and these combustion productions are countless, he said Spaeth.

Particulate matter includes dioxins and nanoparticles that are so small they can penetrate a mask and go directly into your mouth, lungs and bloodstream, he said.

That’s why really staying indoors as much as possible actually makes more sense.

Dr. Ramon Tallaj, who is chairman of the board of directors of SOMOS Community Care in the Bronx, knows the danger from first-hand experience that pollutants from smoke made his eyes itch and left him breathless Tuesday.


Particulate matter from smoke includes dioxins and nanoparticles that are so small they can penetrate a mask and go directly into your mouth, lungs and bloodstream.
ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

I’m 67, I train three times a week, I’m in good health, I’ve been exposed [to the smoke] Last night. I have no breathing problems, she told The Post.

If you can avoid being on the street, stay indoors. Do your work from home if possible. At the same time, if you have to go to work, wear a mask, she advised other healthy adults.

Tallaj’s guide echoed Adams’ remarks Wednesday morning as he urged people to hunker down and limit outdoor activities to absolute necessities.

This isn’t the day to train for a marathon or do an outdoor event with your kids, Hizzoner said.

New York City public schools suspended outdoor activities Wednesday and an outdoor concert at the Prospect Park bandshell Wednesday night was canceled due to the city’s unprecedented air quality.

A Movie Under the Stars event to be held in several city parks has also been shelved, along with a scheduled jazz concert at Pier 84 on the Hudson River.




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