Doctor compares Bay Area Air Quality to Delhi due to Camp Fire smoke

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Bay Area Doctor says the air quality in San Francisco and Berkeley Tuesday is equivalent to that of one of the most polluted cities in the world.

As Air Quality around the Bay Area is down, call volume is up at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Individuals, schools and even counties are calling for advice.

"They want to know what they can do or what type of measures they can take to make sure that they're safe," said Walter Wallace, Bay Area Air Quality Management District Spokesperson.

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A Spare the Air Alert is in effect through Friday.

"The wood burning is a part of the teeth of the rule in which we can actually ban wood burning in the Bay Area," said Wallace.

Dr. John Balmes is a professor of medicine and professor of environmental health sciences. He compares air quality in the Bay Area today to that in Delhi.

"Delhi which is one of the most polluted cities in the world, the level of air quality that we have today is kind of a good day in Delhi this time of year," said Dr. Balmes.

He says the risk to you depends on the dose.

PHOTOS: Camp Fire burns through Butte County, California

"The dose is determined by both the concentration of particles in the air and then how long you're out breathing," said Dr. Balmes.
Doctors say you definitely don't want to be exercising outdoors right now especially because when you do you tend to breathe more through your mouth than your nose.

"You bypass the filtering mechanism of the nose," said Dr. Balmes.

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Also when exercising you tend to breathe in more, so you get a greater dose of the particles.

Experts say wearing an N95 mask helps if you have to be outside but their best advice is to stay indoors as much as possible.

Dr. Balmes says while there's information on the short term respiratory effects of breathing in this air, there is very little information on the long term effects.

The Bay Area Quality Management District is also asking people to avoid barbecuing.

See more stories, photos and videos on the Camp Fire in Butte County.
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