Not so good. Children deserve the best we can do. Are we doing our best, Fairbanks?
People in “sensitive groups” which are people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children, must take extra precautions. Thus, all children are considered “sensitive” even if they don’t have asthma, heart disease, or bronchitis. Review the current Air Quality Index and Judging Particulate Levels in Your Area to learn about the 6 index categories. At Category Orange, also called “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups,” the recommendation states, “People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should limit prolonged exertion. Category Orange readings are PM 2.5 levels from 35.5 to 55.4 micrograms per cubic meter of air, levels which are often exceeded during recent Fairbanks winters. Should outdoor recess take place when the Air Quality Index measures 35.5 or higher on the playground?
Consider this FDNM article about Woodriver Elementary School’s PM 2.5 pollution problem, 1/2010. [Note the School District action levels for elementary schools (only) of 100 and 200 micrograms per cubic meter of air!] Penny Dean, grandmother of two at the school said, “It looked like we had smog, and the smell was tremendous.”
PM 2.5 pollution gets higher, affecting school children and everyone else, see FDNM article from 1/2010 when UNHEALTHY levels were recorded.
Read this FDNM letter to the editor from the Woodriver PTA president, Natasha Ruppert. If Proposition A passes on October 5, the nuisance part (pg 10) of the Fairbanks Air Quality Ordinance, 2010-28, would be removed. Then, while complaints could continue, the Borough would be unable to intervene to stop residents from polluting neighborhood schools, even when the smoke comes inside school hallways and classrooms.
Consider the recent 400 student drop in enrollment, could it be because families are moving out because of the smoke problem? This letter to the editor by Emmett Leffel of North Pole makes that case, 9/2010.