Smog poses health concerns for Salt Lake City; doctor advises change

Dec 18, 2023, 6:23 PM | Updated: Dec 19, 2023, 1:05 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A fog looming over Salt Lake City caused some confusion through the weekend and into Monday by concealing a bigger problem: pollution.

During certain parts of the day Monday, Salt Lake hit national charts for the worst air quality index in the U.S. and remained in the top 10 throughout. The haze in the air was confirmed by KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson to be a mixture of both fog and smog.

“The fog is just a ton of water — water vapor that’s been trapped in the atmosphere and has now supersaturated the atmosphere,” Johnson said.

Dr. Denitza Blagev, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Intermountain Health, told KSL TV that this inversion is bad for anybody, whether they’re in the “sensitive groups” category or not.

“Even if you’re not one of the people that can walk out and have wheezing or coughing or shortness of breath breathing, that air is still bad for you,” she said.

Blagev said that pollution particles affect more than just the lungs, adding to the risk of stroke, autoimmune diseases, or even heart attack.

“They get into the bloodstream and then they can cascade inflammation, clotting throughout the body,” she said. “There’s no safe level of air pollution.”

Salt Lake City's capitol building through a dense layer of fog and smog on Dec. 18, 2023. (KSL TV) Dr. Denitza Blagev with Intermountain Health advises change to daily habits during the worst days of inversion in Salt Lake City. (KSL TV) Salt Lake City's Temple Square as seen through a dense layer of fog and smog on Dec. 18, 2023. (KSLT V) Traffic during an inversion in Salt Lake City on Dec. 18, 2023. (KSL TV)

Johnson said Utah’s next real chance to push out the inversion with a storm is Saturday, meaning the air quality index is likely to continue to worsen until then. Blagev advised the community to exercise inside, because “we know in general that air quality inside is better than air quality outside.”

Another way to mitigate the problem is driving as little as possible, and if driving is required, idling at a minimum.

“I think one of the key things with that air pollution is to realize when the pollution is bad enough,” Blagev said. “You should really change your behavior.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah's Air Quality

An electric UTA bus charges in Salt Lake City, Utah. (KSL TV)...

Ken Fall

EXHAUSTED: Electric transit buses in Utah and the hope for a carbon neutral future

Does the UTA plan for all-electric buses make for dramatic air pollution reductions along the Wasatch Front?

16 days ago

green mountains send up smoke to cover the sky...

Mike Anderson

New $850,000 grant to help Utah monitor wildfire smoke and protect students

We've all see it, the time in late summer and early fall when Utah skies become gray with wildfire smoke. Sometimes it's from other states, sometimes it's even from Canada.

16 days ago

Multiple bills in the Utah Legislature aim to target air quality and offer tax breaks for switching...

Lindsay Aerts

Here’s what the Utah Legislature is doing to address air quality

Multiple bills in the Utah Legislature aim to target air quality and offer tax breaks for switching to electric lawn equipment.

17 days ago

Jennifer Love...

Katija Stjepovic

Rebates make clean air upgrades cheaper for Utahns

It's no secret that Utahns are exhausted by our bad air quality but there are ways you can help reduce emissions from your home.

18 days ago

KSL TV investigated how other cities are managing their air quality. Pictured here is maintenance w...

Deanie Wimmer

Exhausted by bad air: Is smog-eating tech something Utah should consider?

What if Salt Lake could address our pollution problem with technology that “eats” the smog? Several U.S. cities and countries are doing just that with surfaces treated with materials that “neutralize” smog. Is it a solution Utah should consider?

19 days ago

LOGAN -- Cache County often captures some of the worst air in the country. That's due to it being s...

Mike Anderson

Cache County inversions capture high levels of ammonia pollution

Thanks to the geography and agriculture industry in Cache Valley, the area often has the highest levels of ammonia-based air pollution in the country.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Smog poses health concerns for Salt Lake City; doctor advises change