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

Feb 8, 2024, 7:08 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2024, 12:05 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — 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.

Even in small amounts, it’s very harmful so the aim is to cut down on how much our children are exposed to it. Clean air days, like Thursday, are all the more valuable when you consider just how much pollution residents of Utah endure. During fire season, that smokey much can linger for days.

“We have increasing wildfires throughout the west, oftentimes plaguing our air quality for as long as three or four months out of the year,” Dr. Brian Moench said. He is among those grateful to hear some $850,000 will go to helping Utah better monitor and respond to wildfire smoke.

Air pollution could harm child brain development, study shows

He is the board president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. He said wildfire smoke is particularly toxic in part because its particles are so small.

“Smaller particles are more easily inhaled, more easily picked up by the bloodstream and then they can be delivered and actually contaminate the tissue of the body,” he said. “Including all the critical organs.”

“And in addition to that, fire pollution particles are also heavily saturated with a variety of toxic chemicals and heavy metals that enhances the toxicity,” Moench said.

The money, an EPA grant, will mean more monitoring tools around schools, helping administrators better understand when to bring recess indoors.

Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, said the grant could also help in the design of newer buildings to better clean the air.

‘The place we love isn’t healthy’: Millcreek couple weighs decision of moving due to poor air quality

“We’ll be able to better understand the difference in indoor and outdoor exposure and things like filtration plans — filters that can be put in classrooms to reduce exposure to those kids inside the schools.,” Bird said. “We’ve also worked closely in areas that are near roadways to make sure there’s filtration in place so that we’re reducing the additional exposure that comes from those near roadway schools.”

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment already helped place some 30,000 air purifies in Utah schools through a previous grant. The Division of Air Quality is working to get some of those, along with additional monitoring equipment in place by next fall.

KSL 5 TV Live


Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the ...

Jen Christensen, CNN

FDA sign-off on menthol e-cigarettes ‘flies in the face of public health,’ anti-tobacco groups say

Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the first non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products to get the agency’s sign-off. The decision drew harsh criticism from pediatricians and anti-tobacco groups.

2 hours ago

Researchers were able to locate a specific gene variant correlated with some people's weight gain, ...

Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Researchers have found a ‘clear genetic trigger for obesity’ that applies to some people

Obesity isn’t just a matter of food and exercise — it may be in your genetic code, according to new research.

22 hours ago

Tom Nehring practicing his punches against a punching bag with another boxer....

Emma Benson and Michael Houck, KSL TV

‘This is medicine for me’: A Utah man is battling Parkinson’s with boxing

An interactive class is helping those effected by Parkinson’s disease by keeping them active with boxing.

1 day ago

Primary Children's Hospital announced it is opening a new behavioral health center in Taylorsville ...

Karah Brackin

Primary Children’s Hospital to open new behavioral health center in Taylorsville

Primary Children's Hospital announced it will open a new behavioral health center in Taylorsville in late 2025.

4 days ago

FILE: Dr. Vivek H. Murthy speaks onstage at The Archewell Foundation Parents’ Summit: Mental Well...

Michelle Chapman, AP Business Writer

Surgeon general asks Congress to require warning labels for social media, like those on cigarettes

The U.S. surgeon general has called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms similar to those now mandatory on cigarette boxes.

4 days ago

The Foundation’s 38-foot RV, customized with two private exam rooms, will travel around the count...

Carlysle Price

Free skin cancer screening program visits Park City

The Skin Cancer Foundation's Destination Healthy Skin Program's RV is visiting Park City from Friday, June 14 until Sunday, June 16 to provide free screenings.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

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.

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