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Air Quality Alert Issued for Tri-Cities area

Air Quality Alert

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- UPDATE at 4:00 P.M. - According to the Benton Clean Air Agency, the air quality in the Tri-Cities is now hazardous.

Director Robin Priddy said on Sunday that the readings are some of the worst she's seen since 2012.

The Benton Clean Air Agency is advising everyone to take precautions, avoid outside exercise and activities and stay inside with air conditioning or filtered air.

Anyone who is considered to be in the sensitive group should especially be careful. That group includes the very young, elderly, anyone with allergies/asthma and anyone with cardiovascular ailments like COPD.

Priddy also said surgical masks will not help with this kind of air quality. The kind of mask that could help is rated N95 or N100, which are usually available at hardware and home repair stores.

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Benton Clean Air Agency has issued an air quality alert. Air Quality is reaching unhealthy, and very unhealthy, levels because of the smoky conditions we are experiencing.

Wildfires burning in Canada, combined with forecasted conditions, will cause air quality to reach unhealthy, and very unhealthy, levels and potentially remain there until at least Tuesday evening.

Officials say pollutants in smoke can cause burning eyes...runny nose...aggravate heart and lung diseases...and aggravate other serious health problems. Limit outdoor activities and keep children indoors if it is smoky. Please follow medical advice if you have a heart or lung condition.

Here is some advice from Benton Clean Air Agency:

• Stay indoors when possible.

• Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.

• Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.

• If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.

• N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you.

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