More than 100 million people in America are living under air quality alerts caused by Canadian wildfires, the US Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.
These range from “Code Orange” — unhealthy for sensitive groups — and above, the EPA said in a statement sent to AFP.
The region “includes much of the Northeast U.S. — extending to Chicago to the west and Atlanta to the south,” according to the EPA, with Canadian wildfires suspected to be the main culprit, but regional emissions and meteorology could also play a role.
Meanwhile, several sections of the Northeast and Midatlantic are under “Code Red,” with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 151 or higher, which is deemed unhealthy for all humans.
Winds have blown smoke hundreds of miles from Canada’s Quebec province, the epicenter of the country’s disastrous wildfire season.
The EPA said it encouraged Americans living in affected areas to check their AQI throughout the day and take steps to reduce their exposure.
“Pay attention to any health symptoms if you have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant. Get medical help if you need it,” it said.
While most healthy adults and children will recover quickly from smoke exposure and not have lasting effects, people with chronic diseases such as asthma or cardiovascular conditions are at higher risk.
Children, pregnant women and the elderly are also particularly advised to limit outdoor activity.
The AirNow Fire and Smoke app can be downloaded on smartphones or viewed at https://fire.airnow.gov, which includes data from both governmental and crowd-sourced air monitors.