On Wednesday, June 28, Toronto claimed one of the top spots on a list of the world’s worst air quality, according to global air quality tracker IQAir, as smoke from forest fires over northeastern Ontario and Quebec moved into the city.
Toronto had already placed among the world’s worst for air quality earlier this month, but it eventually fell further down the list.
IQAir ranked Toronto as the worst city for air quality Wednesday afternoon, followed by Dubai in the No. 2 spot, as well as Chicago and Minneapolis, just some of the U.S. cities that are contending with smoke from Canadian wildfires. By early evening, Toronto had dropped to 5th place, but the poor air quality is expected to continue. Scientists warn that even brief exposure to forest fire smoke and air pollution has the potential to harm brain function.
Jeff Brook, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, told the Star there are many steps people can take to clean the air inside, such as building an air purifier or using a “state-of-the-art” portable air cleaner or HVAC system.
Other steps people can take include wearing a mask outdoors and keeping children, who are considered by experts as being more susceptible to smoke because their lungs are still developing, indoors on particularly poor air quality days.