Bad air is bad for everyone's health

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - Fog and smog close out the week along the Wasatch Front. Air Quality in the valley has gone from bad to worse. The air quality Friday getting in to the red zone which is unhealthy for all age groups.

Long distance runner Larry Smithee is addicted to running. "It's something that I do, it's part of my life so I do it," said Smithee. "You go out and you run and sometimes I think you're doing more harm than good."

He's right. Doctors say running on bad air days is actually very harmful to your health.

Dr. Brian Moench with Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment said, "The heart, the lungs, the brain, in the case of pregnant mother the placenta, all the inflammatory effects of being exposed to air pollution affect all of those organs and the impact can be profound even from short term exposure."

Dr. Moench says even healthy people should try to limit their exposure outdoors when the air quality gets bad. "No one should take comfort in the idea that this might be a short term spell and if we can get through it we'll be okay. The consequences can be life long."

And even life ending. Dr. Moench said, "The signature outcome of air pollution exposure is a sudden death and that's mostly due to heart attacks, but incidences of strokes start to peak literally within a matter of 14 hours after a pollution episode like this begins."
Most recently a study showed that air pollution like this can be very toxic to the brain contributing to things like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other cognitive degeneration. So while people with asthma or lung disease might immediately feel the effects of this air pollution Dr. Moench says studies show even the healthiest among us are being impacted.

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