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Smoky skies from wildfires present challenge for Long Island's outdoor workers

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an air quality health advisory through midnight Friday for Long Island.

News 12 Staff

Jun 8, 2023, 9:15 PM

Updated 402 days ago

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Outdoor workers have had to tough it out in the smoky, hazy conditions while others have tried to stay indoors.
Arborist Evan Dackow spends up to 10 hours a day treating trees and lawns for ticks and insects. He says his crew has been taking the necessary precautions during the air quality crisis.
"We're putting on cartridge respirators," says Dackow. "We are wearing cloth masks when possible. We're trying to minimize the time we spend outside and run the AC in the trucks."
UNHEALTHY AIR: When will the air quality improve in the tri-state area? Tyler Seger, who does patio and deck work, says Thursday was a little better for breathing but admits he is concerned about the lingering health effects.
"I do worry about it because my lungs did hurt yesterday," says Seger. "It almost felt like I had COVID because I had COVID in the past. I was like, man, this feels kind of weird."
Experts say along with particles of soil and biological materials, wildfire smoke often contains traces of chemicals, metals, plastics and other synthetic materials. They say the smoke can linger in the air for weeks.
Doctors say exposure to the fine particles in wildfire smoke can accumulate in lungs, causing infection and inflammation.
"When there's more, there's an accumulative effect," says Dr. James McDonald, acting state health commissioner. "You're just more at risk for pneumonia, bronchitis, other lung infections. For someone who has asthma, it might trigger their asthma, someone who has pulmonary disease might make that exacerbate."
Doctors highly recommend wearing an N95 mask if you have to be outside for any amount of time. They say to see your doctor if you experience persistent coughing or shortness of breath.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an air quality health advisory through midnight Friday for Long Island.


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