Higher Particular Matter Raises Health Index

Posted on September 25, 2013

On Saturday, September 21, Alberta Health Services (AHS) issued a precautionary air quality advisory for the City of Edmonton, as well as communities north and east of Edmonton (http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/9060.asp).  This was in response to flaring occurring at the industrial area east of Edmonton due to a power outage.  Conditions were not expected to cause health concerns in most healthy individuals, however AHS advised people with pre-existing respiratory conditions and/or cardiovascular conditions, to monitor their symptoms, consider adjusting their outdoor activities, and take the precautions previously recommended by their physicians when experiencing worsening of symptoms. The AHS advisory was lifted on September 22.

Fort Air Partnership data at the Fort Saskatchewan, Bruderheim and Lamont monitoring stations showed slight increases in sulphur dioxide (SO2) during the time of this event, but there were no exceedances of the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives (AAAQOs).

Later on in the day, the Air Quality Health Index was in the moderate risk range for a few hours.  This is believed to be attributed to somewhat higher particulate matter levels during that time due to higher wind speeds increasing the amount of suspended particulates, including dust from agricultural operations (i.e. harvest dust).