Unexpected smog advisory issued for today

THE WELLAND TRIBUNE July 26, 03 By ALLAN BENNER, Tribune Staff

 

THOROLD - With the amount of rainfall over Niagara this summer, a smog advisory wasn't something the region's associate medical officer of health expected to see.

"I confess I was not expecting, given the weather conditions, a smog advisory," said Dr. Doug Sider in a telephone interview Friday.

Nevertheless, the health department is warning residents that the Ministry of the Environment has issued a smog advisory for today.

Sider stressed that he's not a meteorologist, but from his experience "it's not your typical weather" that would contribute to smog, he said. "It's not our role to question the validity of the prediction, but to get the information out and let the public know."

He said it's also unusual for a smog advisory to be issued for a weekend when there's a lot less pollution-creating vehicle traffic. There's also a lot less activities like "painting and road resurfacing" which can also contribute to smog levels.

Although the Ministry is predicting that "ozone and particulate matter are going to deteriorate to the point where we reach poor air quality, it could well be that the weather conditions won't allow the air quality to get the bad," Sider said. "We'll just have to see."

The elderly and children, as well as people with chronic lung conditions, such as asthma, emphysema or bronchitis, and heart conditions, are most susceptible to high smog levels on hot sunny days.

The health department is advising residents to stay indoors during the peak smog period from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Even healthy people can experience a variety of symptoms such as eye irritation, and vigorous outdoor activities during peak periods can lead to throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or chest tightness.

The health department recommends limiting outdoor exercize to before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m. But if people must be outside, the health department recommends looking for shade and wearing sunscreen and hats. And never leave a child or pet in a closed or partly closed vehicle for any length of time.

There are a number of ways residents can help reduce smog, advises the health department. They include car-pooling, using public transit, not allowing your vehicle to idle, using less electricity at home and limiting the use of gas-engined lawn mowers, barbecues and painting.

 

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