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Jun 03, 2023

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A special air quality statement has been issued for York Region because of high levels of air pollution due to smoke from forest fires.

Smoke plumes from the forest fires in Quebec and northeastern Ontario could cause air quality to deteriorate through most of this week.

"Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour," Environment Canada said.

"Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone's health even at low concentrations. Continue to take actions to protect your health and reduce exposure to smoke."

People with lung disease, such as asthma, or with heart disease, possess a higher risk of being affected by wildfire smoke, along with older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outside.

Contact your doctor and stop outdoor activities immediately if you or someone in your care experiences shortness of breath, wheezing (including asthma attacks), severe cough, dizziness or chest pains. Stay inside if you are feeling sick or experiencing symptoms.

"Keep your indoor air clean. Keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable," Environment Canada said.

"Use an air purifier with a High Efficiency Particulate Air filter in a room where you spend a lot of time. Avoid air purifiers that produce ozone. Check the filter and change it if required."

If you can't keep your windows closed or stay inside, Environment Canada recommended taking a break from the smoke by temporarily relocating or finding another location in your community that has clean, cool air such as a library, shopping mall or community centre. Please contact your local health or municipal authorities for more information.

"If you must spend time outdoors, a well-fitted respirator type mask (such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator) that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke," Environment Canada said.

"These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health. However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke. It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms."

Remember to check on people in your care and those around you that may be more vulnerable to smoke.

Also, be sure to pay attention to information and direction coming from your local authorities and evacuate if instructed to do so.

Contact your health care provider if your condition is not improving.

Visit for more information on how to lower the health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, including current and forecast Air Quality Health Index values.

For more information pm the Environment Canada air quality statement, please consult

For more details on portable air purifiers, visit

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