JunkScience continues its quest to locate someone harmed by ambient U.S. air quality — but Katrina Beeson’s problem is pulmonary fibrosis not air pollution.
KBAK-Bakersfield reports in “Air quality takes toll on people with respiratory problems“:
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Statistically speaking, 45-year-old Katrina Beeson should not be alive. Falling ill in 2004, she was hospitalized in 2004 and had a battery of tests.
“It came back as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis which is always fatal,” said Beeson.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease in which tissue deep in your lungs becomes thick and stiff or scarred, over time. The formation of scar tissue is called fibrosis.
As the lung tissue thickens, your lungs can’t properly move oxygen into your bloodstream. As a result, your brain and other organs don’t get the oxygen they need.
There is no cure, and people usually live only 3-5 years after diagnosis. Beeson has been living with it for 7 and a half years, though she breathes through tubes connected to an oxygen tank.
Her condition is aggravated when neighbors use their fireplace on no-burn days. She gets tired just walking across the house from room to room.
“I get very winded and very, very tired. And I notice that my fingertips will turn blue,” said Beeson.
The smoke from the fireplace takes a toll on people with respiratory complications. When the air quality index is projected to exceed the federal standard, that’s when the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District prohibits burning.
“That’s exactly why we should do everything to help improve our air quality,” said Sharon Borradori, program director with the Asthma & COPD Educational Center.
Violators who burn on no-burn days can be fined. A first offense is $50 but violators can enroll in an educational course. Repeat offenders face stiffer penalties, said Brenda Turner with SJVAPCD.
Beeson is trying to raise awareness of the consequences when people burn on prohibited days.
“Please be more considerate,” said Beeson.
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