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Smoke Not As Much a Health Problem As High Ozone Levels

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Western New York remained free Monday of the smoke from forest fires burning out of control in Canada. The smoke had blotted out the sun in our area over the weekend. But if the fires persist, shifting winds could mean a return of the smoky skies later this week.

State health officials did issue advisories for the smoke the last couple of days. But of greater concern, says Peter Iwanowicz of the American Lung Association, is the high levels of ground-level ozone across New York during the recent hot spell.

"Every community, from Niagara Falls to the tip of Long Island, was under an advisory for unhealthful levels of ozone, which is the main ingredient of summer-time smog," Iwanowicz said. "It was the first time in a couple of years that we've seen state-wide advisories."

People who have respiratory problems or engage in vigorous outdoor work should limit their activities when advisories are in effect.

Iwanowicz says air pollution levels have been unusually high in the Buffalo area this summer because of increased power production at Mid-West power plants.