‘Affecting basically everyone’: Poor air quality across the state

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) put out its own warning about poor air quality.
Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 6:49 PM EDT
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MICHIGAN (WNEM) – The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) put out its own warning about poor air quality.

“Affecting basically everyone now because it’s in the very unhealthy range,” said Meteorologist Alec Kownacki with EGLE.

An air quality alert for the entire state of Michigan is in effect until at least midnight on Wednesday, June 28.

EGLE declared Tuesday, June 27 to be an action day for fine particulates in all northern lower Michigan counties.

Kownacki said the current air quality is hazardous.

“We’re seeing this smoke caused by wildfires on the Quebec and Ontario border up in Canada, so to the northeast of us. So, what’s really bringing that smoke down is a low-pressure system was basically sitting over Toronto, Ontario this morning,” he said.

Michigan isn’t the only state impacted. Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin are also seeing smoky skies as the wind continues to blow from the northeast, with Detroit ranking number two for worst air quality in the world today according to the World Air Quality Index.

“The threshold to call these alerts is 35.5 and right now in Bay City, which is near you, is at 208. So, if 35 is the threshold to 208, that’s a lot of smoke and lot of particulate matter in the air right now,” Kownacki said.

At these levels of air quality, even residents who don’t have respiratory conditions or sensitivities could start seeing some adverse health effects. Kownacki said everyone should limit outdoor exposure until the dust settles.

“Everyone is going to be impacted by it whether it’s sore throat when you’re outside, just feeling the exertion if you’re outside because a lot of stuff is being pumped into your lungs. And also, you’ll notice some eye irritation, maybe some watering and that kind of stuff,” Kownacki said.

In addition, a spokesperson at McLaren Bay Region said the hospital has seen a noticeable increase in patients with respiratory complaints.

The hospital said some may have been the result of pollens and other allergens, but many have been from the wildfire smoke.

Those who must go outside are encouraged to wear a KN95 mask.

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