California's Falling Ash May Be Toxic

Because it's 2020 after all
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2020 11:44 AM CDT
California's Falling Ash May Be Toxic
Smoke from wildfires burning east of Los Angeles dims the sunrise, seen from Pasadena, Calif., on Monday.   (AP Photo/John Antczak)

As if a global pandemic, record-high temperatures, a raging wildfire, and news of approaching winds weren't bad enough, Los Angeles County residents are being told to stay inside to avoid exposure to potentially toxic ash. Fine ash has been raining down on the San Gabriel Valley, as well as on neighborhoods in Glendale, Pico Rivera, Whittier, Santa Monica, and Redondo Beach, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District warns it could contain toxic chemicals like arsenic or lead, per the Los Angeles Times.

The news comes as Santa Ana winds are expected to sweep through the region on Tuesday and Wednesday. "If you can see smoke, soot, or ash ... pay attention to your immediate environment and take precautions to safeguard your health," LA County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis says, per KTLA. Health authorities say residents should avoid contact with the ash, and that those with lung or heart problems shouldn't attempt to clean it. Those who are capable should use water so as to avoid sending the ash back into the air. And any contaminated water should be directed away from the runoff system. (More Los Angeles County stories.)

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