Is the present air quality hazardous to people’s health?
When asked the question, “During the past 12 months, do you think any indoor or outdoor pollution issues have affected your health?” one out of three Quesnel residents responded “Yes” to a Community Health Survey conducted in the winter of 1998. Of these individuals, 89% said they thought outdoor air quality was the cause.
The air quality in Quesnel needs improvement. In fact, in 1998 air quality in downtown Quesnel was the worst in the province out of 28 residential continuous monitoring locations. The levels recorded in Quesnel are a concern from a public health perspective.
Health authorities feel that the following health outcomes are linked to poor air quality:
- increases in hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, other respiratory conditions; as well as heart conditions;
- days absent from work or school and days of restricted activity;
- decreases in lung function of children and asthmatic adults;
- reduced lung function and capacity in children; and
- increases in total mortality, as well as in mortality from respiratory or cardiac disease.