Potential for Blowing Dust Prompts Health Advisory

February 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The San Joaquin Air District cautions that air pollution levels may climb this weekend.The potential for blowing dust due to strong winds affecting drier portions of the southern San Joaquin Valley later today, have prompted local air-pollution officials to issue a health cautionary statement for Saturday from late afternoon through early evening prior to the arrival of precipitation.

The Valley Air District's Governing Board approved a "Natural Events Action Plan" (NEAP) that outlines a protocol to inform the public when unusual natural events occur. The purpose of the plan is to identify and minimize public exposure to these unusual events.

The potential blowing dust in drier parts of the south Valley - may create unhealthy concentrations of particulate matter ten microns and smaller, or PM10.

Exposure to particle pollution can cause serious health problems, aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and increase risk of respiratory infections. In people with heart disease, short-term exposure to particle pollution has been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Residents are advised to use caution Saturday late afternoon through Saturday early evening. If you are noticing high levels of windblown dust, please stay inside.

People with heart or lung diseases should follow their doctor's advice for dealing with episodes of unhealthy air quality.


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