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May
24
2024
Land & Environmental

Earlier this week, a thin veil of haze returned to Yellow Springs and much of the greater Midwest as a result of ongoing Canadian wildfires. Unlike the previous instance, which occurred at the beginning of June, the levels of poor air quality reached record highs. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

Air quality plummets in Midwest, haze returns to Yellow Springs

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Smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to impact millions in the Midwest this week as air quality plummets.

For the second time in three weeks, the wildfire smoke has created “unhealthy conditions” all throughout Ohio, according to AirNow.gov. On Wednesday morning, June 28, the air quality index, or AQI, for Yellow Springs hit 211, classified as “very unhealthy conditions” — the highest it’s been all month. At press time, a visible haze could be seen blanketing the village.

In a press release from the Ohio Department of Health sent Monday, June 27, Director Bruce Vanderhoff again encouraged Ohioans to be aware of possible health effects.

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“It is important to take poor air quality seriously, as exposure to smoke can cause health problems,” Vanderhoff said. “Certain groups of people are at higher risk, such as those with chronic heart or lung disease, children, the elderly and pregnant women.”

The release notes that the wildfire smoke contains particulates that can be easily inhaled, thus leading to potential eye, nose or throat irritation; shortness of breath and chest pain; as well as aggravate chronic heart and lung conditions.

To prevent those ailments, Vanderhoff recommends that Ohioans limit outdoor activity — especially outdoor exercise — and to spend more time indoors.

Other precautions include:

• Spend more time in a room closed off from outside air.
• Avoid using candles, gas, propane, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and aerosol sprays. Smoking tobacco products and vacuuming may worsen indoor air pollution.
• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If your eyes, nose or throat are irritated, a humidifier may provide some relief.

To see real-time air quality for Yellow Springs or elsewhere, visit http://www.AirNow.gov.

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