The National Weather Service extended its air quality alert in Michigan because the air quality index has stayed at unhealthy levels. Detroit has been moving in and out of the next worse category — dangerous levels between 201 and 300. Above 301 and the air is considered toxic for everyone to breathe.
All of this is happening in the midst of new research on the toxicity of air pollution.
According to scientists at Boston College, “air pollution can harm health across the entire lifespan. It causes disease, disability and death, and impairs everyone’s quality of life. It damages lungs, hearts, brains, skin and other organs; it increases the risk of disease and disability, affecting virtually all systems in the human body.”
Detroit’s top health official Christina Floyd and research scientist Dr. Carly Phillips joined Detroit Today to discuss the dangers of poor air quality and the continuing threat of climate change.
Listen: Navigating Michigan’s poor air quality and our changing climate
Christina Floyd is the Acting Chief Public Health Officer for the City of Detroit. She says poor air quality is impacting every citizen’s wellbeing.
“You see the haze more, you feel more of the impact of the particulate matter with regards to your sneezing and coughing and headaches,” says Floyd.
Dr. Carly Phillips is a research scientist with the Science Hub for Climate Litigation with the Union of Concerned Scientists. She has studied the intersection between wildfires and climate change. She says about 20 million acres have burned in Canada this year.
“This is a really extreme event that we’re seeing,” says Phillips.