Residents of Upstate New York, particularly those in the Central, Western, and Eastern Lake Ontario regions are encouraged to take extra precautions on Wednesday as an Air Quality Alert has been issued for those regions.

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The alert, which is in effect until 11:50 p.m. is a result of poor air quality conditions that can have detrimental impacts on public health.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at Albany issued the Air Quality Health Advisory due to Fine Particulates. When pollution levels are elevated, the New York State Department of Heath notes that those residents, including the very young and those with pre-existing respiratory problems, may be especially sensitive to the pollutants.

What is an Air Quality Alert?

An air quality alert is issued by environmental agencies when pollution levels in the air reach unhealthy levels. These alerts are important as they inform the public about the potential risks associated with breathing in polluted air. The alerts remind individuals, especially those with respiratory conditions, to take necessary precautions and limit outdoor activities.

Causes of Poor Air Quality

Several factors contribute to poor air quality. In the case of the Air Quality Alert in Upstate New York, increased levels of pollutants such as ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter due to the Canadian wildfires can cause tiny particles to penetrate into the lungs and are a big risk to public health as they can lead to respiratory issues, enhance existing conditions, and cause other health complications.

Health Impacts and Precautions

Breathing in polluted air can have negative impacts on our health, particularly for vulnerable persons such as children, older adults, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions. Short-term exposure to elevated levels of ozone and fine particulate matter can result in coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat. Long-term exposure has been linked to respiratory diseases, cardiovascular issues, and in very rare cases, premature death.

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