Wildfire Contaminates: ‘Particulate-ly’ Unhealthful

Jonathansawarenessoftheworld
ILLUMINATION
Published in
5 min readJun 9, 2023

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Resources for Understanding and Protection

Table of Contents:

  1. ⫸ ✵ Infinitesimal particulates ✵ ⫷
  2. ⫸ ✵ AQI Apps & Website ✵ ⫷
  3. ⫸ ✵ Air Purifier Recommendations ✵ ⫷
  4. ⫸ ✵ ‘Particulate-ly’ Effective Mask ✵ ⫷
  5. ⫸ ✵ Perspective & Research ✵ ⫷
  6. ⫸ ✵ The Numbers ✵ ⫷
  7. ⫸ ✵ Take Care ✵ ⫷
  1. ⫸ ✵ Infinitesimal particulates ✵ ⫷

Wildfires tearing through millions of Canadian forest acres have driven the Air Quality Index across East Coast regions of the United States to levels between 100 and 300.

This is concerning.

Polluted air which pushes AQI measurements above 150 deleteriously impacts human health — affecting elderly folks, pregnant women, and people saddled with respiratory, cardiovascular, and pulmonary conditions starting at levels above 100.

You may have noticed unusually misty conditions, or a plastic-y, burnt smell in the air.

Because they burn everything — including construction materials, PVC piping and batteries — and because they create particularly (particulate-ly) infinitesimal particulates, Wildfires prove exceptionally hazardous, not only locally but across regions.

Rings of blazing fire engulf mountains  surrounding a town and reflect in the adjacent lake.
Global Warming and weather pattern changes yield droughts and rising temperatures. These shifts increase large-scale Forest Wildfires which not only destroy oxygenating trees and innocent animals, but encroach upon cities and towns, endanger air quality over great distances, and threaten our health and our planet. Photo by Mike Newbry on Unsplash

Weather patterns widely circulate smoke; which means harmful particles may travel vast distances.

Not all masks which protect against Covid insulate against Wildfire contaminants. Forest fires create ultra fine, possibly carcinogenic particulate matter which can pass deeply into the lungs and even directly enter the bloodstream. While Covid respiratory particles which house SARS-CoV-2 typically measure 9.3 μm (micrometers) or perhaps, a tiny bit smaller [1], smoke particles often measure less than 2.5 μm[2].

Air purifiers featuring HEPA filters catch particles as tiny as 0.01 μm, about ten times smaller than the 0.1 μm size of the naked coronavirus.[3]

Best to take quick action.

Here is a range of helpful resources to support understanding what to do and how to ameliorate conditions for Loved ones and friends — as well as for yourself!

2. ⫸ ✵ AQI Apps & Website ✵ ⫷

Air Quality Index Graphic: 100 is passable. Over 300 is hazardous.
According to geekflare.com, IQAir is the top-rated Air Quality Phone App, delivering high quality air quality measurements across the globe — and it’s free! The government maintains AIRNOW.GOV, a comprehensive website which not only provides AQI updates, but also furnishes a wealth of helpful information. IQAir App Image

😮‍💨 ➢ https://geekflare.com/air-quality-apps/

😮‍💨 ➢ https://www.airnow.gov

3. ⫸ ✵ Air Purifier Recommendations ✵ ⫷

🫁 ➛ https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-air-purifier/

🫁 ➛ https://www.consumerreports.org/appliances/air-purifiers/best-air-purifiers-for-wildfire-smoke-a1153295134/

4. ⫸ ✵ ‘Particulate-ly’ Effective Mask ✵ ⫷

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3M 8511 N95 Cool Flow Valve Particulate Respirator

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😷 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002YKBV2/?tag=thewire06-20&linkCode=xm2&ascsubtag=AwEAAAAAAAAAAg9r

😷 https://www.staples.com/3m-n95-disposable-respirator-with-cool-flow-valve-10-pack-8511p10-dc-ps/product_2447840

😷 https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-respirator-mask/

3M 8511 N95 Cool Flow Valve Particulate Respirator Image.
With their tighter seal, N95’s protect against particulate contaminants, as do KN95’s, though they cannot create quite as snug a fit. While they do filter virus particles, surgical masks and other Covid-style face gear do not filter significantly smaller wildfire contaminants. Exhalation valves dehumidify by allowing expelled air to escape, thus promoting cooling and reducing fogging of glasses. 3M Retail Image.

Vital to understand: surgical masks which block water molecules carrying the coronavirus, do not filter out much smaller, pervasively dangerous wildfire particulates.

A CDC listing of NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) approved particulate filtering facepiece respirators (FFR’s) may be accessed here. Each clearly exhibits labeling which specifies “NIOSH” and either “N95” or “P100.”

For purposes of creating a secure seal, be sure the particulate respirator you choose possesses two independent straps; one which wraps above your ears and one below. A loose fit anywhere around the edges allows unfiltered air to invade, thereby defeating the mask’s protective value. Even with a loop which fits around your ears, masks with only one strap cannot seal properly.

Surgical Mask on a Woman with a single loop around the ear. This type of mask will not protect against wildfire particuates.
Neither surgical masks nor single loop masks protect against damaging wildfire particulates. Washington State Dept. of Health Wildfire Smoke & Mask Factsheet. https://clark.wa.gov/sites/default/files/dept/files/public-health/wildfire%20smoke/DOH_Wildfire_Smoke_Face_Masks_Factsheet.pdf
Profile of a woman wearing a NIOSH approved, properly sealed 2-strap mask, with one strap above, along with a separate independent strap below the ear.
Masks specifically designed to protect against smoke contaminants possess two straps designed to wrap above and below the ears to create a tight fitting seal. They display NIOSH and N95 or P100 markings. EPA protection pdf: https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2018-11/documents/respiratory_protection-no-niosh-5081.pdf

5. ⫸ ✵ Perspective & Research ✵ ⫷

🔥 ➛ https://www.cdc.gov/air/wildfire-smoke/default.htm

🔥 ➛ https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2023/wildfire-smoke-air-quality-health-exposure/

🔥 ➛ https://www.thedailybeast.com/wildfire-smoke-is-choking-the-northeast-here-are-6-ways-to-protect-yourself

🔥 ➛ https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2023/06/07/canada-wildfires-weather-air-quality/

🔥 ➛ https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/protecting-yourself-wildfire-smoke

🔥 ➛ https://dec.alaska.gov/air/smoke-faq/

🔥 ➛ https://www.iqair.com/us/newsroom/smoke-affects-everyone

6. ⫸ ✵ The Numbers ✵ ⫷

Air Quality Index Graphic: 100 is passable. Over 300 is hazardous.
Air Quality Index measurements above 100 indicate harmfully polluted air. geekflare.com/air-quality-apps/

7. ⫸ ✵ Take Care ✵ ⫷

Best to take prudent precautions.

Preventive Steps beat Retroactive Repair.

With Love,

Jonathan : )

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Jonathansawarenessoftheworld
ILLUMINATION

Songwriter, Poet, Comedian, One-man show performer, Imagin-Artist, Spiritual Guide, Leader in Love: Jonathan has sung, performed, & coached all over the world.