BC Has The Worst Air Quality In North America Right Now

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Worst Air Quality

It may not come has a surprise, but a real-time map shows that BC has the worst air quality in North America right now.

Created by Berkley Earth, the map provides near real-time updates on particulate matter air pollution less than 2.5 microns in diameter.  This type of air pollution is the most damaging form likely to be present. It contributes to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, respiratory infections, and other diseases.

What’s more, the map indicates that BC has some of the worst air quality worldwide. In fact, almost half of the province shows unhealthy or very unhealthy levels of pollution. What’s more, some areas are showing hazardous levels.

Of course, the pollution is directly related to the spread of wildfires across the region. With multiple evacuation issues ordered, the province is in a state of emergency.

With that being said, lung irritation doesn’t come directly from the smoke, but rather the smog.

Specifically, ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air; it is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents) react in the air in the presence of sunlight.

As a result of these conditions, people should avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evening. Indoor spaces with air conditioning may offer relief from both heat and air pollution.

In addition, exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as lung or heart disease and asthma.

Worst Air Quality

Worst Air Quality

Photo: Berkley Earth

Health indicators and qualitative descriptions are included based on the US EPA’s air quality index (AQI) standard for 24-hour exposure.

Berkeley Earth’s objective is to further scientific investigations on the nature of climate change. In addition, they hope to strengthen a major education and communications program to strengthen the scientific consensus on global warming, as well as work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the places that will be the worst emitters over the next 30 years.

For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca.

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