The Fairbanks North Star Borough is hosting its Third Annual Clear the Air Home Heating Forum and Expo on Friday and Saturday. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the perennial air quality problem that returns with winter inversions.
Studies on local air quality have pegged wood smoke as the borough’s greatest contributor of PM 2.5, miniscule pollution particles that travel deep into the lungs. It’s unfortunate because woodstoves are the most affordable source of heat for many families in the borough.
But exposure to PM 2.5 can irritate eyes, throats, sinuses and lungs. Even worse, exposure to PM 2.5 can cause asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It can also increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
A variety of people have been asked to give presentations at Clear the Air to inform the public and also to steer the community toward solving the air-
quality problem. Some highlights from the expo’s tentative agenda include:
• Dan Britton, general manager of the Interior Gas Utility, will give an update on the utility’s progress.
• Nick Czarnecki, borough air quality division manager, will give a presentation on electrostatic precipitators. Commonly referred to as an ESP, an electrostatic precipitator can be attached to a woodstove as a type of pollution filter.
• Jesse Shadley will give a presentation about wood burning.
• Dan Brown, from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Waste, will give a presentation on the challenges of attaining clean air.
If you would like to learn more about the borough’s air quality problems or you would like to get involved in solving this problem, be sure to the attend the Clean Air Home Heating Forum and Expo from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Wedgewood Resort.
To learn more about Clear the Air, see a full agenda, and register to attend, visit goo.gl/wdAhQF.