After seven days of air pollution reaching 130 micrograms/cubic meter, Salt Lake City is breathing better today. Fine particulate pollution, sometimes called “soot” or PM 2.5, dropped to under 12 micrograms/cubic meter at 9 pm today. An improvement.
It was 7-day public health crisis. The community, doctors, regulators, the media responded:
- Salt Lake City Air Pollution Prompts Petition From Utah Doctors 1-23-2013 Huffington Post
- Toxic fog hits Utah: Pregnant women and children urged to stay indoors as pollution goes ‘off the charts’ in freezing weather 1-24-2013 Daily Mail, UK
- Toxic Fog Creates Health Emergency in Salt Lake City 1-23-2013 http://www.weather.com
- Utah’s Sickening Smog Dissipiates (sic), For Now 1-28-2013 http://www.wunderground.com
Apparently, EPA had something to say about the air pollution crisis in Salt Lake City:
“The level of pollution in the city is now the highest in America according to the Environmental Protection Agency and medical experts are now urging residents to stay indoors.” 1-24-2013 Daily Mail, UK
Has EPA forgotten about North Pole? Just when Salt Lake is out of the smoke, North Pole gets smoked out again. Yesterday, Jan 27, 2013, the 24-hour average at the North Pole Fire Station was 130 micrograms/cubic meter, the third reading that high so far in January 2013. More chilling, yesterday the monitor recorded hourly PM 2.5 levels of 386 micrograms/cubic meter and 423. Top that Salt Lake! Today, at 8 pm, the Fire Station is on track to exceed a daily average of 130.
While some may relish winning a contest for most polluted air, it isn’t smart or safe to be in the running. Based on 2012 levels, North Pole is well positioned for worst air in the nation last year.
Has anyone else noticed the vacuum of agency statements about the air pollution in North Pole? EPA noticed Salt Lake’s major smoke crisis but has said not a word about what keeps happening to North Pole. Is it because Alaska is “off the map” and therefore doesn’t exist?
Link: AirNow map of the US
Alaska DEC hasn’t said a word other than issuing an endless series of Air Quality Advisories they choose not to enforce. The Mayor of the Borough and Mayor of North Pole, not one word. Division of Public Health – mute. School board – silent.Pregnant women, children, our elders, and other breathing residents don’t deserve to be forgotten just because they live in North Pole, Alaska. Public health warnings need to be issued, and heeded.