The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority, has continued the Dust Advisory issued on March 4 for Vernon. High concentrations of coarse particulates are expected to persist until there is a change in current weather conditions or reduction in dust emissions.
Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Staying indoors and in air-conditioned spaces helps to reduce particulate exposure. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.
Tips to reduce your personal health risk:
- Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic.
- Continue to control medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
- Maintaining good overall health is a good way to reduce health risks resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.
Additional tips for persons with chronic underlying medical conditions:
- Stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking, vacuuming and use of wood stoves.
- Run an air cleaner. Some room air cleaners – such as HEPA filters – can help reduce indoor particulate levels, provided they are the right size for your home and filters are changed regularly.
- Take shelter in air-conditioned buildings that have large indoor volumes and limited entry of outdoor air.
The current advisory has been triggered by high concentrations of dust, measured as “PM10” – particles with diameter up to 10 millionth of a metre. PM10 concentrations currently remain close advisory levels. Latest measurements at the Vernon Science Centre indicate an hourly average of 57 micrograms per cubic metre. The average for the past 24 hours is 48 micrograms per cubic metre, which is close to the provincial air quality objective of 50 micrograms per cubic metre. The current dusty conditions are mainly caused by road traffic stirring up winter traction materials that have accumulated on roadways over the winter months. Dry meteorological conditions have contributed to accumulation of dust in the Airshed.
Real-time air quality information from Vernon and other B.C. communities can be found at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air.
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