The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) issued an advisory against New Year’s Eve Fireworks, as well as wood burning due to poor air quality in the area.
Poor air quality has been reported in areas of the South Coast Air Basin, prompting the AQMD’s advisory that is scheduled to be in effect through Saturday morning.
“Due to fireworks related to New Year celebrations, the Air Quality Index (AQI) may reach the Unhealthy AQI category or higher from Friday evening through Saturday morning,” said a statement from AQMD.
Fireworks are known to emit high levels of particulate matter and metal air pollutants, so personal “backyard” fireworks can contribute to air pollution.
According to AQMD, fine particulate matter levels on days with excessive firework activity are typically among the highest days of the year in the South Coast Air Basin.
Fireworks are also known to be frightening for pets, making holidays such as New Year’s Eve hard on pet owners. Santa Clarita veterinarian Dr. Jaimie Ronchetto with Cinema Vet discussed with KHTS tips on making the holidays easier for pets.
“If pet owners think ahead if they know their dog or cat will experience intense fear as a result of fireworks, contact their Santa Clarita veterinarian as far in advance as possible for a calming agent or sedative,” recommends Ronchetto. Next Ronchetto advises bringing both dogs and cats inside before the festivities begin, and setting up an area for the pet in a smaller room with the door closed.
In addition to fireworks, AQMD has also issued a residential no burn day alert on Friday for all those living in the South Coast Air Basin, which includes Orange County and non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. This includes burning wood in fireplaces or any indoor or outdoor wood-burning device.
“No burn day alerts are mandatory in order to protect public health when levels of fine particulate air pollution in the region are forecast to be high,” said AQMD’s statement.
Both smoke from wood burning and combustion products from fireworks can cause health problems.
Particles in wood smoke can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems and increases in emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Products from fireworks add to the fine particles already present in the area that are caused by motor vehicles, residential wood combustion, fugitive dust and industrial emissions.
According to AQMD, when AQI levels are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, people with heart or lung disease, pregnant women, children, and older adults should limit prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. When air quality reaches Unhealthy AQI levels, everyone may experience adverse health effects and sensitive groups should avoid prolonged time outdoors. At Very Unhealthy AQI levels, sensitive groups should avoid all outdoor physical activity and everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.
During periods of poor air quality, there are steps one can take to avoid the pollution, including closing all windows and doors and running your air conditioner or an air purifier. Avoid burning wood in your fireplace or firepit and minimize sources of indoor air pollution such as candles, incense, pan-frying, and grilling. Limit the use of gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment.
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