This Iowa City Has the Most Unhealthy Air Quality Due to Wildfire Smoke

People in Iowa are once again seeing hazy clouds because of smoke from wildfires in Canada. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has warned everyone in the state about the air quality until Wednesday because there is so much smoke in the air.

The National Weather Service in the Quad Cities said on Twitter that the air quality was even worse than they thought it would be and that smoke was hitting the ground. The air pollution in Iowa and the upper Midwest has gotten so bad that it is unhealthy.

The NWS said to spend less time outside or wear a mask when you do go outside for long amounts of time. Most of eastern Iowa was hit the hardest, and Iowa City was one of several towns that were in the “very unhealthy” range.

The air quality in Iowa City was 224 (“Very unhealthy”) at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, according to AirNow.gov. The U.S. Air Quality Index’s home page, AirNow, tells people to “limit or avoid” exercising outside when the air quality is this bad.

The air quality in the area went from an “unhealthy level” of 162 on Tuesday around lunchtime to a level of 223 by 2:30 p.m. Early Tuesday morning, the government agency told people to “reduce outdoor activity” and think about moving all activities indoors. Soon after, they raised their warning to more extreme levels.

It was “very unhealthy” in Cedar Rapids at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with a level of 264. This was the highest number in the state. On Monday afternoon, the air quality in Iowa City was as low as 30. It was still in the green “good” zone. At 7 a.m., the levels started going up quickly.

Lowa Skies Poor Air Quality

The smokey clouds and bad air quality in Iowa this week won’t be due to small fires. Wildfire smoke from Canada will blow into Iowa this week, making the skies there smoky for most of the week.

The Iowa DNR says that even smoke from burning grass, leaves, brush, and plants has a lot of pollutants in it. Particulate matter, toxic chemicals, carbon monoxide, and reactive gases are some of the elements that can cause smog. “Once pollutants are in the air, there is no way to prevent them from depositing on crops and water sources,” said Iowa DNR.

Particulate matter, which includes things like dust, dirt, soot, and smoke that are in the air, can pollute the environment and hurt people’s health. This pollution can lead to chronic bronchitis, asthma attacks, less lung function, coughing, painful breathing, heart problems, and heart attacks. It can also have a number of major effects on the environment, such as making lakes and streams more acidic and soils and water bodies losing nutrients.

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