Outdoor air quality

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Outdoor air quality is affected by the types and amount of pollutants released into the air as well as weather conditions such as wind, precipitation, temperature and topography.

Outdoor air quality is impacted by:

  • Vehicle emissions
  • Industry (e.g. pulp and paper, oil and gas, electricity generation, smelting)
  • Forest fires and wood burning

These sources create particulate matter which when inhaled can lead to a variety of health issues.

Staying healthy during an air quality advisory  

  • Use common sense if you are exercising outdoors. If your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce activity.
  • Pay attention to local air quality reports. Air quality may be poor even though smoke may not be visible.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Be aware of your symptoms if you stay indoors. Smoke levels may be lower indoors, however levels of smoke particles will be increased.
  • Visit a location like a shopping mall or library with cooler filtered air. Keep in mind that many air conditioning systems do not filter the air or improve indoor air quality.
  • Use commercially available high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters which can improve indoor air quality near the device.
  • Activate your asthma or personal care plan if you have asthma or other chronic illnesses.
  • Maintain good overall health to prevent health effects from short-term exposure to air pollution.
  • Reduce indoor pollution sources such as smoking or burning other materials.
  • Reduce outdoor pollution sources by taking transit, carpooling and minimizing the use of diesel powered equipment.

Local air quality information

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