Letter: Plea to DEQ for respirator help unanswered

Published December 21, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In recent weeks the Salt Lake Valley has been smothered in smog. As a senior citizen, I'm especially vulnerable to its health effects, notably PM 2.5 particulate damage to heart and lungs. Since the powers-that-be are doing little about it, I'm taking action on my own — by restricting my car use, not burning wood, and staying indoors as much as possible.

But my dog needs her daily exercise, and when I venture forth with her I'd like to be protected by a face mask/respirator. Problem is, what kind to get? Local industrial supply houses carry a variety of different models but have little reliable information about which ones work best against PM 2.5 particles.

I therefore went to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality website looking to find good information about this. To my surprise and disappointment, there was nothing. So I wrote an email to the DEQ director asking for help. Her response failed to even address my concern; indeed it seemed to be some kind of form letter. My follow-up query went unanswered.

Can't the DEQ do any better than this? With months of toxic air pollution still ahead of us, I think many Salt Lakers will want to protect themselves as best they can.

Thomas Huckin

Salt Lake City