Eastern U.S. economic regions contend with unfamiliar air-quality challenges
Smoke from hundreds of active wildfires continues to billow down from Canada this week, threatening air quality in major economic regions of the U.S.
Why it matters: States in the Northeast to mid-Atlantic are experiencing for the first time what many in the Western U.S. and the world have faced for years, and in some cases decades.
- In California, when the air quality index exceeds 151, employers are required to provide respiratory protection equipment.
- In New York City, where the AQI has been over 370 today in some boroughs, there are no such OSHA requirements, journalist Susanna Vogel noted online.
Zoom in: New York City Mayor Eric Adams recommended people limit outdoor activities and established a hotline for the air quality situation.
- Popular restaurants including The Waverly Inn and Cote moved outdoor reservations indoors or rescheduled clients, Axios confirmed via phone.
- Google, which has dealt with scenarios like this in the past, told East Coast employees to stay home, according to CNBC.
The big picture: Smoke from wildfires — which numerous studies show are worsening due in part to climate change — can cause serious health complications when present in high concentrations at ground level.
What they’re saying: "We suggest people to continually run their HVAC system so that [they’re] continually filtering out the air,” Kelsey Hei, senior application engineer with 3M, tells Axios.
- While each home’s systems are different, she also noted that a MERV 13 air filter will "provide a lot of particle capture, but still allow air to flow through."
What we’re watching: Smoke is expected to remain an issue in the same areas hit today through Saturday, with additional episodes possible in the coming weeks given the severity of the fires.
- The smoke has already slowed air travel and led MLB to postpone games tonight in New York and Philadelphia.