WHAT: Chicago’s air is loaded with microparticles of pollution, which, along with a high mold count, likely will cause respiratory problems for Chicago Marathon runners.
Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital who monitors Chicago’s air quality for the National Allergy Bureau, said, “Black sludge, soot and debris are showing up on my slides every day this week and I know Chicagoans are breathing this polluted air and experiencing respiratory conditions during normal day-to-day activities.
“Those running the marathon on Sunday will not only be battling heat, but also extremely poor breathing conditions,” he said. Dr. Leija advised runners to periodically rinse their nostrils with saline solution to “remove trapped debris and keep membranes and airways clear and moist."
WHO: Dr. Joseph Leija is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the official daily allergy count for the Midwest. He will begin working with the Environmental Protection Agency next month to document Chicago’s air quality.
Dr. Leija is available at Gottlieb today to talk with reporters about the dangerous air quality, show the actual pollutants that Chicagoans are breathing and offer tips and advice to marathoners.
Please call Stasia Thompson at (708) 417-5036 to interview Dr. Leija and his patients.
WHY: While thousands will be enjoying the delightful fall weather during the marathon, the public should be aware of highly polluted air quality conditions.