The Ontario Environment Ministry has issued smog advisories across the province, including North Bay.
Here is some advice from the North Bay and District Health Unit about protecting yourself during smog advisories.
This information is contained in a news release issued by the unit today:
HEALTH UNIT OFFERS PRACTICAL STEPS TO PROTECT HEALTH DURING SMOG ADVISORY
The North Bay & District Health Unit, in response to a smog advisory issued for this district for Tue., June 8, by the Ministry of the Environment, reminds people of practical steps to protect their health during a smog advisory.
Public health inspectors with the North Bay & District Health Unit say that people can take steps to lessen the effects of smog on their health and reduce the pollutants that lower air quality. Smog forms when heat and sunlight react with various pollutants emitted from industry, cars, pesticides and oil-based home products. The Health Unit offers these simple steps for people during a smog advisory:
• take part in outdoor activities before 11 a.m., when pollutant levels are lower
• stay indoors as much as possible and use a fan in or near an open window to keep cool
• avoid excessive activity and drink lots of water
• minimize the use of vehicles by grouping activities such as doing errands or by car pooling; walk or ride a bicycle if practical
• avoid idling the car, and refuel after 6 pm; use public transit if possible
• set air conditioners to a warmer temperature to help reduce the energy needed from coal-fired electric stations
• avoid the use of oil-based paints, pesticides, and gas-powered engines and barbecues.
Those most affected by smog include pregnant women, elderly people, young children, smokers, and people sensitive to air pollutants. Healthy active adults and children may be at greater risk because of their tendency to spend more time outdoors.
Smog worsens asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and heart problems. It reduces lung function and irritates eyes, nose and throat.
People are encouraged to contact their elected representatives to ask them to support the use of less polluting fuels, more funding for public transit, and stricter regulations for coal-fired electrical stations.
The Ministry of the Environment issues a smog watch when there is at least a 50 per cent probability that high smog conditions will occur within the following three days. A smog advisory means that there is a strong likelihood that there may be poor air quality within the next 24 hours due to ground-level ozone and particulate matter.
For more information, call the Health Unit at 474-1400 or visit the Ontario Ministry of the Environment Web site: www.airqualityontario.com.