PurpleAir sensors are now broadcasting real-time measures of fine particulates from all Lafayette public schools. The information is available to the public through the Purple Air website map.
Our primary source of fine particulate pollution is the intense level of fossil fuel vehicle traffic through our area. Wood burning adds to the problem during winter months, with wildfire smoke sometimes significantly increasing our exposure. Other combustion sources, such as gas powered lawn and garden equipment and outdoor grilling also add to the mix. The typography of our hills and valleys and weather conditions that trap the pollution near the surface combine to give us the unhealthy levels of fine particulates that we often experience in Lafayette. Because fine particulates are so very small and not detectable with our human senses, we are usually unaware of the hazard.
When we breathe in these tiny particles that measure less than 2.5 micron, they penetrate deep into lung tissue and pass into our bloodstream. They not only transport toxic substances into our bodies, they also trigger an immune system inflammatory response. Short term exposure to unhealthy levels of the particles causes stress to those with compromised respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Long term exposure has been shown to contribute to developmental disorders, type-2 diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, various cancers, and brain maladies such as dementia.
The video below, Clearing the air, provides more details about about fine particulates as well as suggestions on how to reduce your exposure.
The seven PurpleAir sensors were provided as a public service by your friends and neighbors at Sustainable Lafayette.