State Health Department Issues Alert

Smoke from Canadian Forest Fires May Exacerbate Certain Medical Conditions

Albany, NY, July 7, 2002 – State Health officials are cautioning New Yorkers that northwest winds have carried fine particles from forest fires in Canada into New York State, and exposure to this particulate matter may produce or worsen symptoms in individuals with chronic respiratory disease or cardiovascular conditions.

The particles appear as a haze that reduces visibility. New York State air monitors that continuously measure the amount of fine particles in the air recorded higher than normal levels of particulate matter on Saturday and Sunday. However, these levels are expected to decrease as wind shifts from the northwest. In the meantime, people should consider limiting strenuous outdoor activity. Caution is especially advised for those with preexisting respiratory and/or cardiovascular conditions, as fine particles can aggravate these conditions. Keeping windows closed and turning on air conditioning may also help to reduce exposure.