Saturday, January 5, 2008

Another Dangerous, Dirty Air Alert For Wisconsin

Here we go again: 22 Wisconsin counties are under a warning for tomorrow, Sunday, due to dangerous levels of particulate matter in the air.

What a way to enjoy (not!) the first thaw in weeks:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is issuing an Air Quality Watch for Particle Pollution effective Sunday, January 06, 2008 12:00:01 AM through Sunday, January 06, 2008 11:59:59 PM for Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iron, Jackson, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Trempealeau and Washburn counties.

The watch is being issued because of the forecast for elevated levels of fine particles in the air. Fine particle pollution is composed of microscopic dust, soot, liquid droplets and smoke particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller.

These fine particles come primarily from combustion sources, such as power plants, factories and other industrial sources, vehicle exhaust, and outdoor fires.

The Air Quality Index is forecast to reach the orange level, which is considered unhealthy for people in sensitive groups. People in those sensitive groups include those with heart or lung disease, asthma, older adults and children.

When an air quality watch is issued, people in those groups are advised to reschedule or cut back on strenuous activities during the watch period.

People with lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis and heart disease should pay attention to cardiac symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath or respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing and discomfort when taking a breath, and consult with their physician if they have concerns or are experiencing symptoms.

Fine particle pollution deposits itself deep into the lungs and cannot easily be exhaled. People who are at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high particle pollution exposure.

To receive air quality advisories by e-mail, visit

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I normally only scan the LB headlines but I must say this topic catches my attention. I do appreciate your posting these air alerts. The local media is doing nothing with them. I had heard about the first one (word of mouth by chance from an unusually health-conscious person)and I know where to check on this myself. But most people do not, and like I said - the official Eau Claire County voices are pretty silent on this. It seems like it would be a courteous thing to do, to give each person the choice of how they respond. Most would alter no behavior I'm sure. But no info = no choice. Kind of dropping the public responsibility ball IMHO.