Air quality warnings should reflect changes in altitude

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Wednesday, December 7, 2010:

As part of the continuing discussion about improving air quality in Fairbanks, the borough and the state should be developing a new system to communicate health warnings  to the public.

The blanket warnings still in use are not accurate for every part of the community.

We need a monitoring system that recognizes that the pollution levels on the valley floor in Fairbanks and in North Pole are higher than in the  hills.

In addition, in the neighborhoods with heavy localized smoke, the current system doesn’t reflect how bad the problem is for some residents.

The generalized pollution reports offer  a misleading image of air conditions, typically repeated by the news media without scrutiny. The state does post a notice on its website about these limitations, but a better system would go a long way to educate people about air quality.

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