Lingering wildfire smoke leads to another air quality statement in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton
Published June 30, 2023 at 7:55 am
Another special air quality statement has been issued for Mississauga, Brampton, and Hamilton as smoke from forest fires has descended on much of the GTA.
Environment Canada put out the air quality statement on Friday (June 30), saying smoke plumes from forest fires over northeastern Ontario and Quebec have blown into the region again and are expected to linger until Saturday.
As of 6:00 a.m. the air quality in Brampton was at “high risk” while Mississauga and Hamilton were both at “moderate risk.”
Wildfire smoke can be harmful even at low concentrations, and people with lung diseases, asthma, heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health impacts.
Environment Canada says to limit your outdoor activity while the air quality statement is in place and say to take steps to reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke as much as possible.
“Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you or someone in your care feel unwell,” the agency says. “Contact your health care provider or local health authority if you develop severe symptoms or need advice.”
Irritation and discomfort usually disappear when the smoke clears, and drinking plenty of water can help your body cope with the smoke.
Environment Canada recommends wearing a respirator-type mask outdoors (like an N95 mask) to help filter particles. Respirators do not reduce exposure to gases from wildfire smoke, so stay alert for any symptoms like shortness of breath.
Here are some tips to help reduce your exposure and the impacts of wildfire smoke:
- Check the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and monitor your symptoms
- Reduce sources of indoor air pollution like smoking, vaping, burning incense and candles, and vacuuming
- If you have an HVAC system in your home, use the MERV filter and set the fan to recirculate air constantly
- Reduce strenuous activities outdoors, especially for children and the elderly
- Be aware of symptoms like coughing and throat irritation
- Check on people in your care and those around you who may be more susceptible to smoke