Air pollution also poses health risk in Nogales
Wednesday October 31, 2001
In addition to the unpleasantness of living with pollution, poor air quality may be a health risk for those living in Nogales, Sonora.
Health problems related to high levels of dust include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and irritated eyes. Dust particles larger than 10 micrometers in diameter are too large to be inhaled deeply into the lungs but can still cause irritation in the nose and throat.
Particles smaller than 10 micrometers, on the other hand, can get deeper into the lungs and pose a more serious problem.
"The bottom line is that fine particles have been associated with increases in respiratory illnesses," said Dr. Michael Schumacher, an allergist at University Medical Center.
If the dust particles are contaminated by pollutants, like those from automobile exhaust or industrial sources, asthmatic patients may have bouts of coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath, he said.
Those most at risk for health problems are children, athletes, smokers, the elderly and asthmatics. In addition to dust from unpaved roads and car and truck exhaust, particulate pollution can come from garbage burning, construction sites, charbroiling and wood-heated homes, according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.