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Smoke lingers from Fourth of July celebrations in Polk County

Windsor Heights –Yesterday an air monitor recorded elevated levels of fine particle pollution in Des Moines. An increase in fine particle pollution levels began around dusk on Independence Day and persisted overnight. 

Fine particulate levels are expected to drop by noon today as winds pick up, and higher afternoon temperatures improve atmospheric dilution.

Asthmatics, those with respiratory difficulties, the elderly, children and pregnant women are the groups most likely to suffer adverse health effects from smoke inhalation. The DNR encourages members of these groups to limit outdoor activity until air quality conditions improve.

The Des Moines-area monitor recorded a 24-hour fine particle level of 49.6 micrograms per cubic meter Tuesday. The average for the first 8 hours of today is 72.4 micrograms per cubic meter. The EPA’s 24-hour health threshold for fine particles is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. 

While monitoring provides concentrations, it does not identify the cause of elevated pollutant levels. Other monitors throughout the state showed 24-hour averages less than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health thresholds on the Fourth.

Find current air quality levels on EPA’s national air quality map