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July 28, 2010

Moscow's smog deadly

By Ai Lung Nguyen - July 2010.

ENVIRONMENT - The smog in Moscow right now is 10 times above safe levels, the worst smog to hit the city in over a decade and according to Russia's chief lung doctor on residents were inhaling the equivalent of 40 cigarettes every three to four hours. Climate Change has seen rising heat levels in Russia during the last decade.

10 million Muscovites have been baking in a record breaking heatwave which has only been made worse by peat fires in the hills surrounding the capitol city of Russia. Almost every day there is a new heat record being broken.

According to scientists the concentration of carbon monoxide and suspended particles in Moscow has gone up to 10 times above the safe limits. The dangers of exceeding the limit results in carbon monoxide damaging red blood cells in the human body. Prolonged exposure causes death when the body's organs start to shut down. The government is urging Muscovites to wear gas masks and use other ways to ventilate their breathing. Doctors are urging people to eat more vitamin E, an antioxidant, which will help to neutralize the carbon monoxide in their bloodstream. People are being urged to stay indoors and use nebulizers to clear their lungs.

The record breaking temperatures includes 37.4 C on Monday and 37.3 C on Wednesday, smashing records from 130 years ago. So far hundreds of Muscovites have died during the intense heat and humidity which is in the 50s and hundreds more have died due to respiratory failure.

The smog is expected to start clearing today (Thursday), but only if a cold front moves into the region with rain. If that happens temperatures are expected to drop to approx. 32 C.

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