Environment & Public Lands
3:45 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Smoke Pushes Air Pollution Levels

Smoke from distant wildfires has pushed air pollution levels well above federal health standards in Utah this week.  Fine particulate pollution (PM 2.5) topped 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air on Tuesday afternoon.  Schools aren't required to keep kids indoors during recess until that level reaches 90.  But Doctor Michell Hofmann, a pediatrician at the University of Utah School of Medicine says school administrators and coaches need to think about how many days kids have been breathing bad air as well as just how bad it might be on a given day.

"I encourage parents to take a little more ownership and understand how the air might be affecting their child's health and ask for other arrangements with regard to school practices, recesses and other things," Dr. Hofmann tells KUER.

Ozone levels have also been high this week, although not exceeding federal standards.  Hofmann says coaches watching football players and others during intense outdoor practices need to watch for kids who seem to be struggling.

Utah Division of Air Quality website

Utah Department of Health air quality guidelines for schools