Detroit Evening Report: Detroit’s air quality is one of the worst in the world because of Canadian wildfires

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A photo of the Detroit skyline's reduced visibility due to poor air quality.

A photo of the Detroit skyline's reduced visibility due to poor air quality in Detroit, Mich. on June 7, 2023.

Wildfires in Canada are causing Michigan residents to experience hazardous air quality and hazy smoke. Metro Detroit in particular is facing dangerous air quality levels with a high number of pollutants in the air.

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According to the U.S. Air Quality Index, 101-150 ppm (pollutants per square meter of air) is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, including those who have asthma, allergies or other health conditions. Levels at 151-200 is considered unhealthy for the general public — Detroit has been around 150.

Stephanie Hengesbach, a meteorologist in the air quality division at Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), says a fine particulate matter called PM 2.5 that is located within the smoke makes the air dangerous.

“It’s actually smaller than like a hair follicle. It’s that small. We can easily breathe it in. And that’s why people might not notice,” Hengesbach says. “If somebody already has lungs that are compromise, respiratory that’s compromise when they breath, then they can really start being affected.”

Sensitive people should wear N-95 masks, use purifiers and run filtered air conditioning while windows should remain closed.

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.