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Northern Utah pollution skyrockets with fireworks

(Tribune file photo) A conductor for the Stadium of Fire Choir directs during the 2012 Stadium of Fire fireworks display at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. This year's Stadium of Fire is on Friday, the Fourth of July.

Noxious smoke from fireworks skyrocketed overnight Thursday.

Utah Division of Air Quality’s monitors logged a midnight reading in Ogden at 725.6 micrograms of PM 2.5 pollution per cubic meter of air — more than 20 times the health-based standard under the Clean Air Act — following the Fourth of July celebrations.

At Salt Lake City’s Hawthorne Elementary, the level was 75.9 at midnight, more than double the federal standard. And gauges at Lindon in Utah County, levels reached 222, or more than six times allowable levels. Pollution spikes also registered in Brigham City, Logan and Tooele.

“They are of concern,” said Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality. “It’s far and away more than we ever see during the worst inversion periods.”

And, while the pollution levels aren’t out of the ordinary for post-fireworks air quality, they do pose health risks, especially for the very young, the very old and people with heart or lung conditions.

For people who are vulnerable to the affects of the fine soot particles that make up PM 2.5, it might be better to keep some distance even from neighborhood and family fireworks, Bird said.

The federal standard for PM 2.5 is 35 micrograms of pollution per cubic meter of air.


Twitter: @judyfutah

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