Season's First Air Pollution Alert Issued

Season's First Air Pollution Alert Issued

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The state issued the season's first air pollution red alerts for the weekend as foul air trapped under a temperature inversion posed health threats.

The state Department of Environmental Quality issued the alerts for Salt Lake and Davis counties with health advisories for residents with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children, who were cautioned to limit prolonged activity or heavy exertion outdoors.

The alerts also said wood or coal stoves should not be used in the two counties. Motorists were asked to reduce trips by carpooling or using mass transit.

Saturday morning's alert came at the end of a week of a building inversion, in which warmer air aloft capped the valley and trapped colder air and pollution.

When conditions did not change significantly by Saturday afternoon, a second red alert was issued for Sunday, said Laura Vernon, spokeswoman for the department.

"The longer it's here it gets compressed and gets worse, and it builds and builds and builds," she said.

Vernon said officials were hoping a new front scheduled to cross Utah Sunday would blow out the bad air. "Until we get a break in the inversion we can assume it's getting worse," she said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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