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Blowing dust prompts health warning

POSTED May 23, 2012 12:19 p.m.

Gusty winds over the San Joaquin Valley have prompted local air-pollution officials to issue a health cautionary statement through this evening.

Winds in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the Valley air basin portion of Kern counties may produce areas of localized blowing dust. Blowing dust can result in unhealthy concentrations of    particulate matter 10 microns and smaller, or PM10. 

Exposure to particle pollution can cause serious health problems, aggravate lung disease, trigger asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and increase risk of respiratory infections. For people with heart disease, short-term exposure to particle pollution has been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmia, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Residents in these areas are advised to use caution through this evening.  People with heart or lung diseases should follow their doctors’ advice for dealing with episodes of unhealthy air quality. Additionally, older adults and children should     avoid prolonged exposure, strenuous activities or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged exposure, strenuous activities or heavy exertion.

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