Provincial Health Says No Long Term Health Effects Expected from Exposure to Wildfire Smoke
Prince George, B.C. – Although the levels of PM 2.5 were off the chart on the weekend in Prince George, Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there shouldn’t be any long term health effects.
Dr. Henry says even though the wildfire smoke has been impacting the Province since early July “This is relatively short term exposure.” She says this type of exposure, is not expected to produce “long term health effects, like you would for example with ongoing issues with air pollution in a city like Beijing.”
On Saturday evening, the level of PM 2.5 topped 500 micrograms per cubic meter in Prince George, more than 20 times the Provincial target of 25 micrograms per cubic metre.
Dr. Henry says the wildfire smoke is having a short term impact, “What we do see is people who have health conditions, particularly respiratory conditions, or are sensitive to the smoke, the conditions will get worse in the short term. We have seen an increase in the number of people who have made doctors visits or have gone to the emergency department because of things like asthma, or worsening of their chronic obstructive lung disease or difficulty breathing. Those effects, when we have clean air, we tend to see those visits go down again.”