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Wildfire smoke prompts air quality statement for Sarnia-Lambton

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

A special air quality statement has been issued for Sarnia-Lambton Wednesday, as Environment Canada warns that smoke plumes from forest fires in Quebec and northeastern Ontario have resulted in high levels of air pollution and deteriorated air quality — expected to persist into the weekend.

“Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health even at low concentrations,” the agency noted. “Continue to take actions to protect your health and reduce exposure to smoke.”

People with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke.

Residents are advised to stop outdoor activities and contact your health care provider if you or someone in your care experiences shortness of breath, wheezing (including asthma attacks), severe cough, dizziness or chest pains. Stay inside if you are feeling unwell and experiencing symptoms.

Levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) increased over the past 24 hours at air monitoring stations across Sarnia-Lambton. (Source: Clean Air Sarnia and Area)

“Keep your indoor air clean,” the statement added. “Keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable. Use an air purifier with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter in a room where you spend a lot of time.”

If you must spend time outdoors, a well-fitted respirator type mask (such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator) that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke.

“These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health,” Environment Canada added. “However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke. It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms.”

For more information, visit weather.gc.ca.

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