Asthma is a respiratory condition in which the airways narrow, swell and produce extra mucus; this makes breathing difficult and triggers coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Asthma episodes can be caused by triggers such as pollution, bad air quality, pollen, tobacco, mold or pet dander.
Unfortunately, Imperial County leads the state of California in asthma-related emergency room visits for children. In fact, 12,000 children in Imperial County have asthma already. The rapid deterioration of the Salton Sea and the dust released from it is considered a source of air pollution that makes asthma more difficult to control in the region. Communities like Salton City, Bombay Beach, Niland, Westmorland and Brawley are the most impacted due to their proximity to the sea.
Dust emission from the Salton Sea cannot be ignored as a public health concern within Imperial and Riverside Counties. Long term exposure to PM2.5 have been correlated to children and elderly respiratory complications and even fatalities.