Is the Particulate Matter Exposure a Health Threat on the Nipomo Mesa?

The dust plume that arises on windy days from the the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) regularly exceeds State standards for particulate matter (PM) concentrations.  Release of fine particulate matter into the air is regulated by Federal and California law because PM exposure is proven to be a health risk.  California air quality standards set limits on maximum emission levels for particles that are 10 microns per cubic meter (PM10) and 2.5 microns per cubic meter  (PM2.5).   When people breathe air that contains fine particles of this size, some of the particles stay in their lungs and the smallest particles can pass through the lungs into the blood stream.  Being exposed to any kind of particulate matter may cause: increased emergency department visits and hospital stays for breathing and heart problems worsened asthma symptoms adverse birth outcomes breathing problems decreased lung growth in children lung cancer early deaths People who are at the highest risk of being adversely affected by particulate matter include: People with heart or lung diseases , because they will feel the effects of particulate matter sooner. Older   adults    are   more   likely   than   young   adults   to   have   to   go   to   the   hospital   or   die   because   the   exposure   to   particle   pollution   has made their heart or lung disease worse. Children   because   they   are   still   growing   and   spend   more   time   at   high   activity   levels.   When   children   come   in   contact   with   particle pollution   over   a   long   period   of   time   they   may   have   problems   as   their   lungs   and   airways   are   developing.   This   exposure   may   put them   at   risk   for   lowered   lung   function   and   other   respiratory   problems   later   in   life.   Children   are   more   likely   than   adults   to   have asthma and other respiratory problems that can worsen when particle pollution is high. Infants because their lungs continue to develop after birth and can be impacted by air pollutants. To learn more about the health risks of fine PM exposure click here.  

Protect Your Health - Minimize Particulate Matter Exposure

The   best   way   to   reduce   the   PM   health   threat   is   to   avoid   breathing   unhealthy   levels   of   fine   dust   particles.      Some   people   may   experience immediate   health   problems   with   short-term   exposures   to   high   PM   concentrations.      All   people   risk   PM-related   health   problems   if   exposed   to high dust concentrations over the long term. Limit Outdoor PM Exposure A   good   guide   for   judging   the   level   health   threat   from   outdoor   PM   exposure   is   the   Air   Quality   Index   (AQI).      The   AQI   is   a   number   based   on   how serious   the   health   risk   is   from   the   combined   effects   of   ozone,   PM10   and   PM2.5   exposure.      On   the   Nipomo   Mesa   there   is   no   significant   ozone pollution.  To learn more about AQI and what it means for health risk, click here. To   minimize   unhealthy   PM   outdoor   exposure,   avoid   extended   outdoor   activity   when   the   AQI   is   at   or   above   the   UNHEALTHY    level.      This   is especially   true   for   work   or   athletic   activities   that   raise   breathing   rates.      For   people   with   existing   conditions   or   who   are   sensitive   to   PM exposure, outdoor activity should be avoided when the AQI is at or above the UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS  level.   The   AQI   for   the   Nipomo   area   can   be   viewed   at   the   Nipomo   AirNow   web   page   (click   here ).      The   AQI   index   for   Nipomo   is   derived   from   PM monitors operated by the SLO County Air Pollution Control District and reported to the AirNow system. To learn about other measures of PM concentration monitors for our area and air quality alert services, go to the Monitors and Alerts page. Limit Long-Term Indoor PM Exposure It   is   also   important   to   avoid   long-term   indoor   PM   exposure,   such   as   in   your   home.      Close   windows   and   doors   when   the   outside   AQI   level   is UNHEALTHY    or   above.      On   the   Nipomo   Mesa   high   outdoor   PM   levels   occur   on   high   wind   days,   which   may   increase   dusty   air   flow   around windows   and   doors.      It   may   be   necessary   to   improve   weather   seals   and   to   seal   off   air   leaks.         To   further   reduce   dust   exposure,   consider   using high-efficiency fine particle air filters in your home.  For more information on how to limit indoor exposure, click   here.  

Mesa Air Facts!

Concerned Citizens for Clean Air