Thursday, December 1, 2011

Air Time: Air advisories issued for central, eastern Washington

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program

The National Weather Service is warning people that stagnant air will cause air pollution to build up during the next several days throughout central and eastern Washington.

The agency’s Spokane office issued air stagnation advisories today for a period starting Friday and continuing through at least Monday morning.

Smoke from outdoor burning and home-heating devices like wood stoves and fireplaces is likely to build up where cold, stagnant air is trapped near the ground. Fine particles in smoke are so small they can easily get into your lungs. Once there, they can cause heart and breathing problems, and even death. Children, people with asthma and respiratory illnesses, and adults older than 65 are most at risk.

A 2009 Ecology analysis estimates that fine particles lead to about 1,100 deaths and $190 million in health-care costs each year in Washington.

You can read more here about health issues related to smoke, and about how Ecology and others work to protect people from breathing smoke.

Ecology has not issued any burn bans yet to limit the use of home-heating devices, but that could change.

For updates, check local media reports, Ecology’s daily burn decision hotline (1-800-406-5322) and Home Heating Burn Bans page. You also can check for a roundup of bans.

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