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Fairbanks North Star Borough and state to host air quality health workshop


Local and national experts to present, answer questions

(FAIRBANKS) - The Fairbanks North Star Borough and Alaska departments of Environmental Conservation and Health and Social Services are sponsoring a workshop on air pollution and public health. The workshop will take place Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center, 101 Dunkel St. in downtown Fairbanks.

The workshop will focus on the health effects of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and surrounding communities. These particles, which are approximately 1/30th the width of a human hair, pose health risks because they can lodge deeply into the lungs.

Paul Garbe and Rachel Kossover from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga., and Jim Conner of the Fairbanks North Star Borough will make presentations. A question-and-answer session will take place following the presentations, and presenters will be available for individual questions and discussion as well.

"A recent study conducted on PM2.5 in Fairbanks has shown the significant effect these tiny particles can have on the health of people in the area," said Kossover, who co-authored the study while working in Alaska with the CDC. "Increased hospital visits, especially by the elderly, are shown to occur when PM2.5 levels rise. We'd like to get local input on the problem."

For more information on PM2.5 in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, visit: www.aqfairbanks.com.

To view the state Epidemiology bulletin on the Fairbanks air quality study, go to:
Association between Air Quality and Hospital Visits -Fairbanks, 2003-2008.

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