NewsCovering Kern County


Visibly bad air in Bakersfield unhealthy for everyone

The bad air looks like fog but is pollution
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-02 20:57:28-05

Bakersfield is in the middle of about three weeks of moderate to unhealthy air quality, and it's recently become so bad that you can see it. 

Despite the visibly bad air, people were out and about in northeast Bakersfield all day on Tuesday. 

It may look like fog but it's not; it's pollution.

Bakersfield resident Ariel Dyer says she can usually she the mountain on her walk at the bluffs. Now, she says she hasn't seen it in a couple of weeks.

That pollution wasn't keeping people like Dyer and Jodi Rowe from hitting the bluffs and exercising Tuesday morning. Rowe has lived in Bakersfield for more than 30 years so she says she's used to it.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District says Bakersfield is actually seeing record low emissions coming from the Valley floor, but a high pressure system that's been over us for weeks is acting like a lid. That lid is keeping in microscopic pollutants brought on by everything from vehicle exhaust to the Thomas Fire, even fireworks from the New Year contained metals and toxins we're now breathing in, along with other chemicals. 

Dr. Mushtaq Ahmed runs the local Pulmonary Group and says that he definitely recommends people don't exercise outside right now. He says even healthy people can get a sore throat, chest tightness, and bronchial spasms when you inhale this kind of particulate material.

Dr. Ahmed says that affordable masks and air filters in your home often times are unable to filter out this kind of matter because it's so small. He says it's hard to say whether or not growing up here can keep you from feeling the effects, but he does know what studies say, that life expectancy goes down when you're constantly exposed to toxic polluted air.

Valley Air has a Real-Time Air Advisory Network where you can find hour by hour updates and advice on exercising in these conditions here