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West Michigan air quality remains “unhealthy” while Chicago and Detroit are worst in world

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Wildfire smoke continues to pour in as doctor says “stay indoors”

While officials say there had been a slight improvement Wednesday, West Michigan’s air quality remained “unhealthy” due to the wildfire smoke that has descended from Quebec.

According to the air quality index, Chicago and Detroit held the top two rankings for worst air quality in the world Wednesday morning, with West Michigan sandwiched between the two. The air faired a little better in the Greater Grand Rapids area but not by much; according to AirNow.Gov, the federal government’s website that tracks the air quality index, West Michigan’s air had been upgraded to “unhealthy” from “very unhealthy” a day ago.

Still, medical officials are warning the public, that while it is not fatal to be outside and breathe the air, it is not recommended either.

Dr. Ronald Grifka is the Chief Medical Officer at University of Michigan Health-West and offers his advice.

“Certainly, there are some immediate and long-term effects, so staying indoors would be good. Close your windows and doors, and I hate to say it, but you may want to wear a mask for a couple of days.”

Vulnerable people could be a particular risk, as Grifka says, the elderly, children and those suffering from heart or lung disease should stay indoors entirely and avoid any outside activity beyond walking to the car for instance.

Wildfire smoke from fires burning in Quebec has blanketed much of the east coast with a haziness that resembles fog.

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