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Breathing in California — Denying the right-to-know

By Elaine Harger
Reading a Q&A piece in the Seattle Times the other day about the fires in California, I was disturbed by the answer to one question:Q: The Bay Area is blanketed in smoke… Is it bad to breathe?A: The short answer is yes. When wood, grass and other materials burn, the flames produce gases and throw fine solid particles into the air. Those particles can burrow deep into lungs, which can be particularly dangerous for people with heart or lung diseases, older adults, people with diabetes, pregnant women and children whose lungs are still developing.1 Why no specific mention of the synthetic ingredients present in the smoke of the estimated 6,000 structures now destroyed? Carpets and bedding, toys and TVs, PVC pipes, insulation, roofing materials, household appliances, cars and trucks, asphalt, and all the packaging and contents of products sitting on the shelves of grocery stores, automotive shops, pharmacies. In a word, the smoke produced by the burning content of all…

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