What Great Salt Lake dust does to our bodies
The Salt Lake Tribune had an informative article last week outlining the effect dust pollution has on the human body. UPHE has been calling attention to these health effects for years. Dust triggers the same inflammatory response that other types of pollution does. The disease and organ dysfunction consequences are largely the same. On top of those effects, the contamination of dust such as that from Great Salt Lake, includes toxic heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, and lead, and toxic industrial chemicals like pesticides, amplifying the health hazard.
“Big picture, we had a great year,” Kevin Perry, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Utah, said of this year’s record-breaking snowfall and spring runoff in the Tribune article. “But we only covered about 10% of the dust hot spots.”
Utah state legislators used the extra wet spring as an excuse to avoid taking meaningful measures to get more water to Great Salt Lake.
Even if you are young and healthy and don’t have any symptoms from it, pollution of any type is harming your health and shortening your lifespan.
Denitza Blagev, a top pulmonary medicine expert at Intermountain Health, is quoted in the Tribune article, confirming UPHE’s message, “People don’t necessarily feel it immediately, but we can see in the data an increased risk of things like stroke and heart attack. Everyone is vulnerable.”
That’s why UPHE and other environmental groups are suing to force the state to allow enough water to reach the lake so that it remains a viable ecosystem and doesn’t degenerate into a gigantic dust bowl.