Doctor warns Utahns to be aware of air pollutant levels

Dec 20, 2023, 11:00 AM

Air pollution...

Hazy air is seen in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. At the time, the air quality index for PM2.5 was 69, or moderate, according to AirNow.gov. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Most of the Wasatch Front is enjoying much cleaner air this morning, thanks to small rain storms moving through the state. However, the inversion will return throughout the winter.

Pulmonary and critical care physician at Intermountain Health, Doctor Denitza Blagev, told KSL NewsRadio that air pollution affects us more than we often realize.

“Even if we don’t have any immediate symptoms, breathing in that air pollution can have health consequences,” she said. 

Blagev says those tiny little pollutant particles can get into the lungs and the bloodstream and can cause anything from inflammation to heart attacks and stroke.

“But the really dangerous particles are the tiny, tiny, ones you don’t see that not only get into the lungs but get into the bloodstream,” Blagev said. 

Furthermore, she says certain populations should be even more careful, like school-aged kids playing at recess. And individuals with heart and lung problems.

“Especially kids with asthma that may be more vulnerable,” Blagev explained. 

Even if you aren’t noticing the immediate effects of the pollution, like irritation and shortness of breath, breathing in the air can still have long-lasting health consequences.

Air pollution levels are ever-changing, therefore looking up air quality based on time of the day and location is helpful to determine if you should stay indoors. 

More on air quality in Utah 

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Doctor warns Utahns to be aware of air pollutant levels