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In Los Angeles, the smoke just hangs all day, every day. Residents say it's taking a toll

September 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

In the foothills below the Bobcat Fire, just northeast of Los Angeles, the smoke just hangs all day, every day.

Day is among thousands of people on the West Coast who feel they are unable to go outside without the poor air quality taking a toll on their health.

People in states like California, Oregon and Washington said they have had physical reactions -- headaches, drowsiness and dry, burning eyes -- after air quality index rates in their areas soared.

Air quality levels from Canada to Southern California are unhealthy or even hazardous, according to the US government's AirNow Smoke Map. And three cities -- Portland, Oregon, Seattle and San Francisco -- now have the worst air quality of any in the world, according to the monitoring group Air Quality Index.

"Over the last several days, air quality across Oregon has ranked among the worst in the world and even maxed out the scale used by the Environmental Protection Agency to measure hazardous air quality," the statement said.

Terrence Petty, a Portland resident, said the city's "smoke-clogged air has compounded the anxiety" people are feeling from the daily protests and the pandemic.

In Los Angeles, Joaquin Baldwin said the air quality has made him feel drowsy, and his eyes have started to burn.

"I'm very worried, actually," said Dr. Mary Prunicki, director of Air Pollution and Health Research at the Sean N.

Even much lower levels are especially bad for people with heart of lung conditions, the elderly, children and teenagers, said Dr. John Balmes, a pulmonologist at University of California San Francisco.

"There was worry before the actual fires started about the potential interaction between bad air quality due to wildfire smoke, and COVID-19," Balmes said.

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