SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Russ Pellegrino has tested the air quality at Ground Zero in the hours after the 9/11 attacks and, most recently, after high-profile train derailments.
On Wednesday, NewsChannel 9 asked him to test the air outside his shop in Syracuse, clouded in smoky air blown south from wildfires in Canada.
Pellegrino, the laboratory operations manager at Centek Laboratories, ran two tests.
Using two different tests, Pellegrino was looking to detect any gases in the air and any microscopic ash and soot.
It’s the small particles from burned wood most concerning to doctors because it goes deep into the lungs and causes irritation, inflammation or worse.
In both cases, vacuum canisters were placed outside that sucked in air for almost two hours.
In the gas test, once inside the lab, the canister transfers the sample air into a machine which sends results to the computer. Higher-than-normal levels of limonene were detected.
Limonene is a gas that comes from burned pine.
In the particulate test, a small filter captures microscopic soot, which is then weighed. The scale and formulas in the computer resulted in a reading of 540 micrograms per cubic meter.
That number isn’t too much higher than the official Air Quality Index taken by the State DEC which registered between 400 and 500 Wednesday.
Wind and vehicle pollution can impact local results, but the similarity of numbers confirms it’s not a breath of fresh air.