Ministry of Environment issues road dust advisory for Vernon

A view of Vernon on Tuesday. The ministry says road dust levels tend to be highest around busy roads and industrial operations. Global News

For the second time this month, an air quality advisory for road dust has been issued for Vernon.

Road dust occurs when traffic volumes are high and winter traction material is present on dry road surfaces.

Sent out Tuesday by B.C.’s Ministry of the Environment, the advisory warns of high concentrations of coarse particulate matter that are expected to persist until there is precipitation or dust suppression.

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It says road dust levels tend to be highest around busy roads and industrial operations.

The ministry says the advisory is in effect until further notice, and that those with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise near busy roads until the advisory is lifted.

It added that exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

A road dust advisory was previously issued for Vernon on Feb. 3.

British Columbia’s air quality health index (AQHI) has four categories: low health risk (1-3), moderate health risk (4-6), high health risk (7-10) and very high health risk (10-plus).

The AQHI for the North Okanagan was listed as a 4, or moderate, on Tuesday. The Central Okanagan was listed as a 3, or low, as was the South Okanagan.

Additionally, the ministry said this air quality episode exceeded the province’s air quality guideline of 50 micrograms per cubic metre over a 24-hour span.

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For Vernon, the concentration was at 72.2 micrograms per cubic metre as of 1 p.m., on Tuesday. As a comparison, Kelowna registered 19.4.

To view the air quality health index for your region, click here.

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