PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) issued an Air Quality Alert on Tuesday due to effects of the smoke arriving from the wildfires in Canada.
The DEM expects the air quality will be unhealthy from mid-day into Tuesday night due to elevated concentrations of fine particles from the smoke.
It’s not unusual for us to see wildfire smoke, according to 12 News Meteorologist Michelle Muscatello, but normally it stays in the upper levels of the atmosphere and doesn’t affect our air quality.
The fine particles in the air are expected to remain moderate on Wednesday, with lingering but less impactful effects from the smoke, the DEM added.
The particles can affect the lungs and heart of people exposed to them, and the DEM says studies have linked particle pollution to a variety of problems such as:
- Premature death in people with heart or lung disease
- Nonfatal heart attacks
- Irregular heartbeat
- Aggravated asthma
- Decreased lung function
- Increased respiratory symptoms (irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing)
People with heart and lung diseases, children and older adults are the groups mostly likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure, according to the DEM. The agency recommends limiting outdoor exercise and other strenuous activity and staying in an air-conditioned area if possible.
Anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms should contact their doctor.