Smoke Pollution & Particulate Matter
Roseville, Calif. – As California fires bring more devastation, one of the significant impacts that extend far beyond the immediate fire zone is widespread smoke and the associated health risks. Smoke and particulate matter can have serious health effects, especially on children and older adults.
As we’ve reported before, Placer County already ranks among the worst air quality in the entire United States. Prior to the Mosquito Fire, the 2022 fire season has been less severe than anticipated and not as impactful to South Placer as in previous years. In August 2021, the entire month was smoke-filled due to massive wildfires.
(School bus navigates smoke-filled intersection of Pleasant Grove and Foothills Blvd. during wildfire season)
The greater attention to air quality has residents wondering about the potential health impacts of smoke and Particulate Matter.
For a quick reference, we turned to the EPA for a better understanding.
Particulate Matter Health Effects
The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems, because they can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream.
Exposure to such particles can affect both your lungs and your heart. Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including:
- premature death in people with heart or lung disease
- nonfatal heart attacks
- irregular heartbeat
- aggravated asthma
- decreased lung function
- increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing.
- People with heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure.