Air quality advisory issued for Castlegar

Dust advisory issued due to high concentrations of dust that are expected for the next 24 hours

People with breathing problems in Castlegar are being warned to take care.

A dust advisory has been issued for Castlegar due to high concentrations of dust that are expected to persist for the next 24 hours.

The Ministry of Environment and the Interior Health Authority issued the advisory at 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3. An update is expected sometime Tuesday.

The current dusty conditions are caused by road traffic stirring up winter traction materials that have accumulated on roadways over the past winter.

The provincial air quality objective for PM10 is 50 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) averaged over 24 hours. On Monday Castlegar’s concentration was 70.4 µg/m3

The advisory warns that exposure is particularly a concern for pregnant women, infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as breathing or lung conditions, hay fever, asthma or persons who react strongly to dust.

Interior Health advises that if you are experiencing symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheeze, follow the advice of your health care provider.

The advisory lists these additional tips:

• Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic.

• If you stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed and reduce indoor sources of pollution, such as smoking, vacuuming and use of wood stoves.

• Continue to control medical conditions such as asthma, hay fever and chronic respiratory disease. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.

• Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.

• Avoid the use of wood stoves and fireplaces unless the sole source of residential heat.

• Where wood stoves or fireplaces are the sole source of residential heat, use only CSA/EPA emissions approved wood-burning appliances and well-cured wood, and ensure an adequate supply of combustion air.

• Follow local backyard burning bylaws.

• Avoid backyard burning where a bylaw does not exist.

• Reduce the use and idling of vehicles.

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