20 June 2013

Haze and Health Effects

1. What is Haze?
Haze is a result of accumulation of dust and smoke particles in relatively dry air. Singapore is more likely to be affected by haze in the months of May to October as a result of very dry weather conditions in the region intensifying the effects of the fires in Indonesia and the prevailing Southwest Monsoon winds blowing the smoke from the fires in Singapore’s direction.

2. the particles that make up haze can go deep into the lungs.com/health-effects-of-haze. nitrogen dioxide. carbon monoxide and particulate matter. These can range from respiratory conditions such asthma attacks and bronchitis to worsening of heart diseases such as heart attacks or heart failure.   Children as they are more vulnerable due to faster breathing rates and the fact that their lungs are still developing. sore throat and coughing. Elderly as they are more prone to adverse health conditions because of past medical conditions. enter the bloodstream. Local effects can result in eye. The following groups of people should minimise outdoor activities when the air quality is bad. ozone. What are the health effects of Haze? Haze contains dust and smoke particles. and in some cases. It also contains air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide. There may be increase incidents of skin irritations as well for those with eczema or other skin conditions.htm Systemic effects are more serious. Due to the small particulate size. The health effects can be classified into local and systemic effects. nose. . Picture adapted from http://blissair. People with history of sinus problems or sensitive nose are more likely to develop nasal congestion. and throat irritation.

nitrogen dioxide.300 Above 300 PSI Descriptor Good Moderate Unhealthy Very unhealthy Hazardous Another value PM2. these pollutants can penetrate deeper into the lungs and enter the blood stream. chronic obstructive lung diseases. congestive heart failure. ozone. carbon monoxide and particulate matter called PM10 (particulate matter of 10 microns or smaller in size).5 microns or smaller in size. o Chronic diseases such as diabetes as patients with diabetes are more prone to cardiac conditions. resulting in greater adverse health conditions. . It is an index developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and is determined by the level of air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide. o Any heart diseases especially those with coronary artery disease. How is the severity of Haze measured? This is measured by the PSI.5 measures the level of pollutants that are of particulate matter 2. 3. The PSI value gives an indication of the air quality as shown: PSI Value 0 to 50 51 . PSI stands for 'Pollutant Standards Index'. nose and throat problems such as allergic nasal conditions or problem with sinusitis. Patients with past medical problems such as o Any respiratory conditions especially those with asthma.200 201 .100 101 . o Any history of ear. As a result of their very small particulate size.

None for the general population Health Advisory . elderly and persons with existing diseases should stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity.4. What are the health advisories pegged to PSI and PM2. The general population should avoid vigorous outdoor activity.5? The following is taken from National Environment Agency of Singapore PSI Value 0 to 50 (Good) 51 to 100 (Moderate) 101 to 200 (Unhealthy) 201 to 300 (Very unhealthy) 301 to 400 (Hazardous) None for the general population Persons with existing heart or respiratory ailments should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity. Elderly and persons with existing heart or lung disease should stay indoors and reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity. Children. elderly and persons with existing diseases should stay indoors. (Hazardous) The general population should keep physical exertion and outdoor activity to as low a level as possible. keeping the windows and doors closed and avoiding physical exertion as far as possible > 400 Outdoor activity should be avoided. The general population should avoid unnecessary outdoor activity. The general population should reduce vigorous outdoor activity. Children.

People with respiratory diseases should consult their doctors on the use of respirator masks if they intend to use them.Health advisories pegged to PM2. 5.5 is greater than 40. Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion. people with existing heart or respiratory ailments or those who are more susceptible to smoke haze are advised to wear a respiratory mask such as N95 masks (designed to keep out fine particulate matter) when they go outdoors. Following groups should avoid all physical activity outdoors: > 65 to 150   People with heart or lung disease Children and older adults Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. nose and throat or any chest symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain to consult their doctors. they should minimise outdoor activities when the PSI is greater than 80 or when the PM2.5 24-hr PM2. It is recommended for anyone experiencing any symptoms relating to irritation of the eye. For those who are of higher risk.5 is greater than 15. When do we need to wear a mask? The general recommendation is for healthy people to minimise outdoor activities when the PSI is greater than 100 or when the PM2. .5 is greater than 40.5concentration (µg/m3) 0 to 15 >15 to 40 None None for the general population. When the 24-h PSI level exceeds 150 in the 'Unhealthy' range or when PM2. Surgical masks and paper masks do not provide adequate protection from the haze particles. Following groups should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion: > 40 to 65   Health Advisory People with heart or lung disease Children and older adults Everyone else should limit prolonged or heavy exertion.

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