June 8, 2023 – By John Blair, valleywatch.net editor.
Knowing that even slight elevation in fine particles can have serious impacts on human health, I cannot help but have great compassion for those people who are having to live in smoke filled air that are inundating the eastern half of the USA.
It is absolutely true that no one should breathe air that is so grossly polluted but then what can you do when the pollution is so widespread and so extremely high? At a minimum, the use of N95 masks should be worn but, of course, masks of any sort have become a rallying call for radical right-wingers who see them as a restriction on freedom and an assault on their manhood.
But those I really feel sorry for are the kids whose misinformed parents will claim that “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”
Reporting on this current disaster has barely linked the smoke filled skies with climate change that is the result of ever increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the earth’s atmosphere from the burning of coal and other fossil fuels across the world. Resulting drought causes massive forest to dry out and become susceptible to fire. Then in a feedback loop, as those forests burn, they release even greater amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere which in turn raises temps and dryness in a kind of morbid loop that makes things worse over time.
Wildfires in North America and Australia have recently resulted in dire health situations for millions of people. Smoke is made up mainly of fine particles that when breathed in can cause a wide array of respiratory and circulatory issues like asthma, heart attacks, stroke, COPD, and even cancer when those particles pass from the air into the lungs and ultimately the blood stream of humans. Smoke like currently experienced in the northeastern USA can have both immediate (acute) and long term (chronic) health problems for those exposed.
It is important for personal protection to avoid smoke from any source so please do what you have to do to avoid breathing crap filled air. If you can see it, taste it or smell it, do not breathe it.