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Public Health

Posted on: December 5, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Air Quality Advisory, Linn County, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, IA — Linn County Public Health (LCPH) is observing elevated ambient levels of fine particulate matter that are above the daily air quality health standard of 35 ug/m3. LCPH continuously monitors local air quality and over the past several hours we have seen a rise in particulate matter levels. Based on forecasted meteorological conditions, LCPH anticipates that particulate levels may remain elevated over the next 24-48 hours.

At these levels, the general population may find air quality to be acceptable. However, people sensitive to air pollution should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. This may include people with lung or heart disease. Children active outdoors can also be sensitive to particle pollution.

Nitrate is a primary component of winter time haze in Iowa. Nitrate formation is enhanced during prolong periods of high humidity and near freezing temperatures like we are currently experiencing.

Fine and coarse particles can cause a variety of serious health problems. When exposed to these particles, people with heart or lung diseases and older adults are at increased risk for hospital and emergency room visits and in some cases, even death. These effects have been associated with short-term exposures lasting 24 hours or less. Particles can also aggravate heart disease such as congestive heart failure and lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.

During this period, you may reduce your exposure to particles by 1) planning strenuous activity when particle levels are forecast to be lower, 2) reducing the amount of time spent at vigorous activity, or 3) choosing a less strenuous activity (e.g., going for a walk instead of a jog).

Tips for reducing particle pollution on days when level are expected to be high:
• Reduce the number of trips you take in your car.
• Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
• Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
• Avoid burning leaves, trash and other materials.

Real-time and historic ambient air quality monitoring data is posted on the Linn County Public Health Air Quality Website at www.linncleanair.org. For further questions, please contact the air quality branch at 892-6000.

For more detailed information about air quality where you live:

www.linncleanair.org
www.airnow.gov
www.iowadnr.gov/air/current/current.html

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Linn County Public Health Air Quality Website
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