Do you smell that?  Do your clothes smell like it?  Maybe your home does?

The air quality in Montana, Great Falls and our surrounding states has been not the greatest in the past month.  Of course, due to wildfires across Canada and the Pacific Northwest.  Fires that are even in our home state near Kalispell and Hungry Horse have been wreaking havoc with our allergies and those that suffer from other breathing complications.

It isn't a surprise that we wake up in the morning to step out on our decks to enjoy the morning cup of joe and suddenly it is like we are in the mountains waking up with a nice campfire to warm us.

But have you noticed a difference in the smell of things when you take a deep breath?

All The Smells That Make Our City What It Is - Good and Bad

If you have spent any time in the Electric City, there are certain smells that are associated with us.  Naturally, the refinery automatically comes to mind.  We have all smelled that deliciousness at some point.  But there are also the smells of the river, fresh cut hay or grain, even the smells of the earth can readily accost the nostrils at some point in the day.  And yes, even that smell of campfire is out there.  But what about the smell of burning plastic?

Does it sometimes smell like a landfill is on fire in our city?

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How Are We Getting the Smell of Burning Plastic in Our Air?

The chemistry and physics of the Earth's atmosphere is where things go wonky for these smells.  Naturally, when branches, trees and leaves burn, they give off volatile organic compounds.  When they react with the atmosphere, it causes the smell of campfire that we normally associate with wildfires.  However, when they linger in the air they interact with ultraviolet radiation.  This in turn causes pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde to form, which gives us the smell of burning plastics.

Why is it a concern?  Those same chemicals are classified by the World Health Organization as Group 1 carcinogens, meaning there is sufficient evidence that they cause cancer in humans.

Have you been smelling burning plastic in Great Falls or anywhere in Montana?  Let us know via our social media, using our appchat feature or you can email me directly at the studios here.

6 Tips To Staying Healthy When The Air Quality Dips

Quite a few air quality alerts have been issued in various locations lately in the United States. When that happens, here are a few things to consider that will help keep you safe and healthy.

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