July 10, 2002
œThe New Brunswick Lung Association week-long Asthma Camp for children being conducted at Camp Medley, New Brunswick, was cancelled earlier today.Â Stated President and CEO, Kenneth H. Maybee.
This decision is unprecedented in our 23 years of conducting the camp.Â Said Maybee.
We acted on a public health advisory warning issued by Environment Canada that forecasted a shift in wind currents which threaten to engulf the whole of the province over the next few days with intense smoke from raging forest fires in the province of Quebec.
One of the natural sources of air pollution in Canada is from wildfire.Â Becoming more frequent lately, wildfires are unpredictable and may result in severe short-term smoking impacts.
As a result, smoke inhalation from wildfire can pose major health risks.Â Smoke is made up of primarily small particulate matter, gasses and water vapour with trace amounts of hazardous air pollutants.Â The most harmful are the small particulate matter, smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter.
To give you a sense of scale, 100 micrometers is the diameter of a human hair.Â Says Maybee.Â These particulates can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, damaging tissue and causing respiratory problems.Â Asthmatics, those suffering from COPD, emphysema and other existing medical conditions are at increased risk.Â The elderly and children are especially vulnerable.
The children at the Asthma Camp were between the ages of 8-12 years old and were informed after their parents were notified of the decision.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Wayne MacDonald, advised that at-risk people should limit exposure to outdoor air and if they must go outside, to limit activity as much as possible.
It was felt that it was in the best interests of the children that they return home to their families. Stated Kenneth Maybee.
When You Can't Breathe, Nothing Else Matters
For more information:
Kenneth H. Maybee
New Brunswick lung association
65 Brunswick Street