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Bad Air in Dane County, Wis.: Where’s the Communication?

From February 2-5, Dane County , along with several other counties in Wisconsin , was under an “Air Quality Advisory for Particle Pollution” due to elevated levels of small particulates in the air.

The advisory was in the “orange” level, which means that the particulate levels were unhealthy for “sensitive groups”– people with respiratory and/or heart diseases, the elderly, and children. This includes at least half of the population. Some minority and lower income groups have higher rates of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and/or less access to health care, and are therefore even more vulnerable.

The DNR website suggests that “people in those groups are advised to reschedule or cut back on strenuous activities” and more specifically, “people with lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis, and heart disease should pay attention to cardiac symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath or respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing and discomfort when taking a breath, and consult with their physician if they have concerns or are experiencing symptoms. Fine particle pollution deposits itself deep into the lungs and cannot easily be exhaled. People who are at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high particle pollution exposure” (taken verbatim from the DNR website).

 

It is critical that we do something to reduce air pollution in Dane County . While this is a regional air quality problem, and is exacerbated by weather patterns such as winter inversions and ‘stagnant air masses’, that doesn’t leave Madison and Dane County institutions and people off the hook. It’s our pollution that’s being trapped by inversions.

 

A purportedly ‘progressive’ community such as Madison , with a high concentration of very educated and privileged people, a prestigious research university and local and state government agencies, has no good excuse for not doing better.

See our full press release here.

From February 2-5, Dane County , along with several other counties in Wisconsin , was under an “Air Quality Advisory for Particle Pollution” due to elevated levels of small particulates in the air.

The advisory was in the “orange” level, which means that the particulate levels were unhealthy for “sensitive groups”– people with respiratory and/or heart diseases, the elderly, and children. This includes at least half of the population. Some minority and lower income groups have higher rates of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and/or less access to health care, and are therefore even more vulnerable.

 

The DNR website suggests that “people in those groups are advised to reschedule or cut back on strenuous activities” and more specifically, “people with lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis, and heart disease should pay attention to cardiac symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath or respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing and discomfort when taking a breath, and consult with their physician if they have concerns or are experiencing symptoms. Fine particle pollution deposits itself deep into the lungs and cannot easily be exhaled. People who are at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high particle pollution exposure” (taken verbatim from the DNR website).

It is critical that we do something to reduce air pollution in Dane County . While this is a regional air quality problem, and is exacerbated by weather patterns such as winter inversions and ‘stagnant air masses’, that doesn’t leave Madison and Dane County institutions and people off the hook. It’s our pollution that’s being trapped by inversions.

A purportedly ‘progressive’ community such as Madison , with a high concentration of very educated and privileged people, a prestigious research university and local and state government agencies, has no good excuse for not doing better.

See our full press release here: PRESS RELEASE – Bad Air in Dane County

 

 

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