Air Quality Concerns and Testing Amid Raging Wildfires

Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke Raging Across Canada and Eastern U.S.

Air quality poses great health and safety risks when wildfires and smoke grow uncontrollable. 
Air quality poses great health and safety risks when wildfires and smoke grow uncontrollable. 

Raging wildfires in Canada have caused large clouds of smoke to cover the east coast of the United States, resulting in dangerous air pollution levels along with numerous health and safety concerns. There are rapid air quality concerns in order to protect citizens from wildfires and smoke. So, environmental and air quality testing should be a great priority for many.

Air quality testing is especially important during times like these because it determines the amount of pollution in the air which can cause respiratory illnesses, sensitivities, and other allergy symptoms.

Wildfires across Canada and the U.S.

Today, New York City’s air quality is officially the worst in the world, hitting over 400 on the air quality index scale, according to IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company.

The best course of action is to stay indoors and ensure the windows and doors are kept shut to minimize the amount of smoke entering your home.

But if staying indoors all day is not feasible, before leaving, check the air quality in your surrounding areas. By utilizing a real-time air quality index map, you can gauge how clean or polluted the air is, along with the potential health consequences that may pose a risk to you. If the levels are too high, it is not advisable for you to leave indoor spaces.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, portable air cleaners (air purifiers) equipped with HEPA filters have the potential to significantly decrease indoor particle concentrations by up to 85%.

Currently, cities along the east coast of the U.S. are announcing air quality alerts and warnings. It is really crucial for those in “sensitive groups” to take extra precautions. This group can consist of children, older adults, and people with respiratory difficulties such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Wearing a mask, particularly N95 masks utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic, offers excellent self-protection. N95 masks are efficiency as they can filter out airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns. This makes them highly effective in safeguarding against wildfire smoke that contains 2.5-micron particles, according to an article from Healthline.

Once the smoke is gone and the air quality improves, it is beneficial to open doors and windows to let out any contaminated air left indoors. Also, replace any air filters used during that time with clean new ones. 

Air Quality Testing Projects

Contract Laboratory has received and facilitated multiple requests for air quality testing:

  • URGENT. Air quality analysis laboratory needed for NIOSH testing for nicotine.
  • Electroplating company needs Industrial Hygiene Laboratory Air Quality measurement for plants in Asia.
  • Environmental Particle Pollution PM2.5 laboratory needed for air quality testing.
  • Australia Microbiology Laboratory needed for Compressed air quality testing for microbes: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae. Samples would be taken using Parker CAMTU unit and captured on Agar plate.
  • University Researcher needs Europe environmental laboratory for outdoor air quality testing to measure all (the toxic and non-toxic) congeners of PCDD and PCDFs in a lichen matrix (similar to plants and fungi). Number of samples: around 40. We want to know all the detection limits of all the compounds, and the minimum number of samples.
  • NY construction laboratory needed for air quality testing, mechanical systems testing, plumbing testing, life safety systems testing, building interconnect testing, structural connections testing.
  • University Researcher needs Maryland environmental laboratory for air quality testing on indoor swimming pools. How fast and how much would it cost.
  • India Microbiology Laboratory needed for microbial filtration efficacy testing of H1N1 Influenza Virus in Air Purification System for Home & Hospital use. We want to test efficiency in Killing Influenza Virus, Bacteria and airborne other virus/bacteria with Air Quality Test.

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