Accelerated by seasonal winds, ash-laden air is blowing through neighborhoods far from the flames of the massive wildfires ripping through Santa Rosa and Napa, reports Emily Atkin.

“Since Tuesday morning, air quality is beyond terrible,” Jennifer Franco, a resident of Fairfield, California, told Atkin. “I’ve been having chest pain, and now I’m using a respirator.”

While the most immediate threat from the 22 devastating wildfires currently burning through large parts of California, says Atkin, are the fire zones, Californians are facing an additional threat: “polluted air, rife with tiny particles small enough to penetrate deep into the circulatory system.”

People closer to the fire zones face an even graver threat since the air there might also be carrying toxic “heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, copper and lead, as the smoke picks up chemicals from burned-up plastic, cars, and building materials,” Atkin notes.

Read more at New Republic

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