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Air quality warnings in US city

22 March 2012 09:08

The number of air alerts issued in San Francisco over winter reached a five-year high

The number of air alerts issued in San Francisco over winter reached a five-year high

Authorities in San Francisco issued a high number of air quality warnings over winter, according to reports.

At the end of the Winter Spare The Air season, the San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District confirmed that officials had issued the city with 15 alerts, the most alerts issued for half a decade.

Over the winter, weather conditions meant pollution became trapped over the city, leading to nearly 20 days in which the standard of air quality became bad enough for officials to take note.

Pollution in the area is most widely caused by wood smoke, coming from more than a million log-burning fires and stoves in and around the city.

Wood smoke is one of the most dangerous forms of pollutants, containing high levels of life-threatening particulates and carbon monoxide.

The number of alerts is likely to be of concern to tourists visiting the city who already suffer with asthma, and will serve as a reminder to arrange pre-existing medical travel insurance before making the trip.

San Francisco air quality official Jack Broadbent said: "It was a tough winter for air quality and public health, but things could have been much worse. Wood burning overall is decreasing, but we still see unhealthy levels in certain neighbourhoods."

Copyright Press Association 2012