Sandy woman looks to move to escape dirty air

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SANDY -- Northern Utahns are on a health alert as air quality once again hits an unhealthy level and it's only expected to get worse later in the week.

The weather pattern is playing a significant role in how this latest inversion lingers. The persistently bad air is forcing some people to consider moving.

A Sandy woman says the dirty air is affecting her health so much she's ready to move to Park City.

"I totally resent going outside," said Cindie Quintana.  "I look outside and I don't want to breathe the air, it may bring on an asthma attack -- they're very, very scary."

Quintana has also been sick with bronchitis for almost a month and can't seem to beat it.

"I think if we had normal breathing conditions or semi-normal breathing conditions I would be able to recover much more quickly, it's got me down," Quintana said.

She's now considering putting her Sandy home on the market and moving up the mountain to get above the bad air.

On Monday, Salt Lake, Davis and Cache counties hit an unhealthy level for people with respiratory problems. And by Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Salt Lake City will have some of the dirtiest air in the nation. The weather is playing a significant role.

"You wouldn't have the inversion conditions without the high pressure," said Meteorologist Monica Traphagan with the National Weather Service.

It's like a lid on a pot, Traphagan added.

The latest high pressure system has lasted about a week, preventing pollution from escaping.

"The air sinks and that's what keeps everything down here and that's the inversion," Traphagan said.

According to the Division of Air Quality, in the last decade, our worst years were in the early 2000s but last year, Salt Lake, Cache and Utah counties spiked with 35 mandatory action days, when the air quality wasn't in federal compliance.

Experts say 2014, with 21 mandatory days so far this season, is on track to repeat numbers similar to last year.

Quintana feels that leaves her with one option.

"I'm not getting any younger and need to take a closer look at moving," she said.


  • Eric Anderson

    If you pack a million people into a small geographic area that’s prone to inversions then this is what will happen. There is absolutely nothing we can do about it except go someplace else. Cars are trucks are cleaner than they were 20 years ago by an order of magnitude. So clean it’s almost impossible to kill yourself by running your car in your garage anymore. You’d starve to death first. So clean that they all have stainless steel exhaust pipes, because regular steel ones would rust too quickly as a result of the exhaust containing almost nothing be water vapor. So clean that a new Suburban SUV produces as much pollution per mile as THOUSANDS of VW hippie buses.

    But multiply that by a million and it’s a mess. If we all lived like cavemen, but crowded together like this, the campfires would make the air even worse.

    Humans are just dirty. We can’t help it.

  • Kate

    Men and women have been fighting the elements since the first humans walked out of Africa. As humans, we have fought storms, hurricanes, floods, famine and disease. We have survived because it is human nature to battle these elements.
    My ancestors lived in good times and bad, and they struggled to make things better for their children, and their children, and so on. They traveled the high seas to get to America, a land they thought was filled with opportunity and free from oppression. They came from Norway and the British Isles seeking a better life.
    In America, they worked the land, making sure that they were taking care of that land, because they depended on that land to feed their children and the surrounding communities. Some of my ancestors made pottery, who came to Utah under the command of Brigham Young thinking that this would be a place to raise their families and make a better life for themselves.
    I can see the disappointment in my English and Wales ancestors’ worn, craggy faces in old pictures passed down through the generations. What did they really think of traversing the country to end up here in this desert surrounded by mountains? They must have thought the Salt Lake Valley was a beautiful place 150 years ago. And they struggled to make this a great place for their future generations.
    Most of my ancestors who came to Utah ended up impoverished. I wonder if they were thinking, “What on earth did we do?” “Why did we come here?” My great-great grandparents who migrated to Minnesota from Norway did better financially. Their farm was huge and they worked the land to their advantage. But you can also see the struggle in their faces, having weathered the trip to America and starting over in a strange place. They were used to the harsh climate of Minnesota having come from Norway, but they didn’t expect that half of their children would die of consumption. What did they think about coming to America? Did they wish they were back in their homeland?
    Fast forward to 2014, a date so far in the future that it was pretty impossible to even imagine how the world would be at this time in history. I think if my ancestors knew that their progeny were now facing horrible air pollution, murder, suicides, poverty, chemical warfare, chaos, and the list goes on, would they be rolling in their graves thinking what did I do? What did we do?
    Several of my ancestors were progressive thinkers and stood up for what they believed. My ancestry includes royalty, saints and sinners. But what is amazing to me is that a great many of them “took action” to change their circumstances. I feel a fire in my breast when I am passionate about something needing to be changed or fixed. I have always been like that. Where does that come from? It is now known that our genes carry our family history with us down the generations. I now know mine does!
    I am now fighting for my life, to live in this area our ancestors called, “Zion” and “This is the place.” More and more each day, I am realizing that this isn’t the place I want to be any longer. I have lived here the better part of my 62 years. I was hoping to have a long life because it runs in my “genes.” I think our lives will be cut short because of the complacency and apathy of the majority of people here and a government that isn’t working for the majority of the people, but for a handful of people.
    I guess I am lucky in one respect. I won’t have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or progeny, to be born into this chaotic world and environment we live in; not only here, but all over the world. Soon there will be no escape and nowhere to hide. Even space is cluttered. I shudder to think of any future. Will I live another 20 years? I’m not quite sure now.
    I do want to thank my Norway ancestors for giving me the Norse woman fortitude to go forth with my life, speak out for what I believe is right, and try to change things for the better.

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