The Valley Air District has issued a health cautionary statement amid a weather pattern that could contribute to another round of elevated particulate pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. The district says stagnant air conditions may result in warmer temperatures, but residents should take care to avoid heavy outdoor activities during periods of elevated particulate matter concentrations. Particulate pollution, which is also known as soot, is harmful and has been correlated with asthma attacks, bronchial infections, heart attacks and stroke.
The statement comes weeks after the district faced criticism from health and air quality groups after it failed to issue such a statement during a two-week stretch of elevated particulate pollution at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. By some measures, that pollution event was the worst in two decades.
In today’s announcement, the district says it is encouraging people to use the RAAN network of localized, hourly air quality readings. The federal standard for exposure to particulate pollution is measured over a 24-hour period, but the local RAAN network provides hourly data, and also alerts to subscribed users during elevated hourly pollution events.
The current statement is in effect until conditions improve.