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157 Short St. Suite #6 - Bishop , CA 93514
(760) 872-8211

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Particulate Pollution Health Advisory Program

The Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District will issue air pollution health advisories when air pollution exceeds selected trigger levels. District staff will take hourly readings of the wind speed, wind direction and particulate pollution levels in Mammoth, Bishop, Lone Pine, Olancha and Keeler, during normal business hours. Health advisory notices will be FAXed and emailed to schools and interested citizens in the affected communities and to local media outlets. Health advisories will remain in effect for the remainder of the day and if appropriate, will be reissued as conditions change.

A Stage 1 air pollution health advisory will be issued when hourly particulate pollution (PM-10) levels exceed 400 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m³) for dust and 100 µg/m³ for wildfire smoke. A Stage 1 health advisory will recommend that children, the elderly, and people with heart or lung problems refrain from strenuous outdoor activities in the impacted area.

A Stage 2 air pollution health advisory will be issued when hourly particulate pollution levels exceed 800 µg/m³ for dust and 200 µg/m³ for wildfire smoke. A Stage 2 health advisory will recommend that everyone refrain from strenuous outdoor activities in the impacted area.

Particulate pollution is associated with dust, smoke and haze, and is measured as PM-10, which stands for particulate matter less than 10 microns. These particles are extremely small, less than a tenth the diameter of a human hair, and because of their small size they can penetrate deep into your lungs. Smoke associated with wildfires is largely composed of particulate matter less than 2.5 microns and because of its smaller particle size can pose health risks at lower concentrations than for PM-10.  Therefore, a lower PM-10 threshold for smoke episodes is used to call Stage 1 and 2 health advisories during events caused by wildfires.  Breathing PM-10 can cause a variety of health problems. It can increase the number and severity of asthma and bronchitis attacks. It can cause breathing difficulties in people with heart or lung disease. It can complicate existing respiratory infections and can increase the risk for respiratory infection in all of us. If you suffer from respiratory allergies, breathing PM-10 may aggravate your existing symptoms.

The best defense you have against PM-10 exposure during these episodes is to stay indoors. Homes or buildings with closed air systems typically act as very good barriers to PM-10. Don't exercise, do strenuous yard work or other outdoor activities when PM-10 is high. Replace your heating/air conditioning system filters with one of the newer high technology "micron" types. This will help filter the air that does come in from outside. You can reduce you and your family's personal exposure to PM-10 during these episodes by taking any of these simple common sense actions.

The GBUAPCD air pollution health advisory program is not intended to replace the need to control dust and smoke problems in the Eastern Sierra, but it's intended to help reduce adverse health effects until dust control measures are in place. If you have any questions about this program or the District's activities at Owens Lake, please write or call Ted Schade or Duane Ono at the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District, 157 Short Street, Bishop, California 93514, (760) 872-8211.  More information on health advisories and real-time air quality data for Inyo and Mono Counties can be found at www.gbuapcd.org.

Released By:

Theodore D. Schade
Air Pollution Control Officer