Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Utah: Nation's Dirtiest? And a card

Air. We have the dirtiest air in America.

In Utah -especially the Salt lake Valley - there is a nasty phenomenon called inversion. The definition of an inversion is the layer of air near the earth is cooler than an overlying layer. What it means is that pollution gets trapped and can't go away until the next storm. We get this in the winter and there are regular warnings for asthmatics (me) and people with compromised immune systems (me) to stay indoors. This inversion is so bad it's effecting healthy people and the warnings extend to all people, not just the weak. I haven't seen any of the mountains that ring this fair valley in days. In the valley itself people say it's like walking through fog...ON THE GROUND! Environmental compliance agents drive through neighborhoods to police the rules. If you are caught burning wood or a variety of other things you'll be fined. It's really bad. Strong people can't breathe well, are coughing and many are too worn out to function. When air particulates get this high heart attacks and strokes go up as much as ten-fold. The hospitals have to over staff like crazy to deal with it. It's scary.

For me, as one suffering an immune disorder, this is a hard, hard thing to manage. I'm mostly sitting still, trying to breathe. My chest aches like pneumonia and the tiredness is like a heavy drape. My back swells in response to my immune system fighting the bad air and the swelling presses on my insides, causing internal bleeding. So I add low blood pressure and anemia to the mix. Ugh. It's hard to function like this. Each hour seems to bring with it a loss - mostly of motion.

Fortunately I'm more angry than depressed and as soon as this terrible air blows away (and it's safe to leave the house) I want to get involved with the Mother's for Clean Air group and see what good I can do. This is unacceptable. Utah needs to put better environmental laws in place. You can read the latest inversion story here if you're interested. It's supposed to blow over on the weekend. I'm trying to ride it out but if things get much worse, Chris is going to drive the kids and I somewhere else - Wendover, Vegas... anywhere with clean air.

I made this valentines card before the inversion:

It doesn't show up well small, you can see it bigger here

Dianne's Pumpkin Claire Flamingo Right (SALE)
Dianne's Vampire Claire Flamingo Left (SALE)
Flower Curl Heart
"Be My Valentini"


Unknown said...

Oh Nicole... I had no idea! I always pictured Utah as this pristine, healthful place. It must be so frustrating when you are doing so much to improve your quality of life, and factors beyond your control are working against you. I hope your personal involvement helps... hang in there!

Unknown said...

I thought of you this morning when a writer friend emailed me - she's struggling to breathe (and sleep since you can't relax enough to sleep when you can't breathe) with the inversion. I was hoping you were high enough up to be out of it. withing you hugs, deep breaths, and strong winds!

Anonymous said...


Keep taking care of yourself, best you can. And best wishes for the activism, too.

bandaidqueen said...

Hope things get better for you soon. My sister is in Elk Ridge, I will have to ask her about inversion there.
Take care of yourself. Many special people depend on you (your husband and great boys)

Perpetual Beginner said...

Inversions can be nasty things. Back about a hundred years ago, an inversion in London actually killed a bunch of people (coal smoke). Here's hoping your weather clears up soon!

CathyR said...

We used to live in Reno and there are inversions there every winter too. It was not good. Hopefully the air will clear out soon and you will start to feel better.

Shawnna Samples said...

I am so sorry you are feeling poorly. Sending prayers for cleaner air and better days for you. :)

Laura said...

I hope you feel better. I love your valentini card.

Anonymous said...

Bleh! When I was a kid in Colorado, Denver had really gross inversion pollution. I think it was worse than LA during those times. You could see the brown cloud as you drove into town.

I hope everything's right-side-up and clear again soon!

Kathi said...

Wow. I also thought Utah was pristine and healthful.

I hope the inversion is gone and that you're feeling better.