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Sandy woman looks to move to escape dirty air

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Posted at 10:13 PM, Jan 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-21 00:13:52-05

SANDY -- Northern Utahns are on a health alert as air quality once again hits an unhealthy level and it's only expected to get worse later in the week.

The weather pattern is playing a significant role in how this latest inversion lingers. The persistently bad air is forcing some people to consider moving.

A Sandy woman says the dirty air is affecting her health so much she's ready to move to Park City.

"I totally resent going outside," said Cindie Quintana.  "I look outside and I don't want to breathe the air, it may bring on an asthma attack -- they're very, very scary."

Quintana has also been sick with bronchitis for almost a month and can't seem to beat it.

"I think if we had normal breathing conditions or semi-normal breathing conditions I would be able to recover much more quickly, it's got me down," Quintana said.

She's now considering putting her Sandy home on the market and moving up the mountain to get above the bad air.

On Monday, Salt Lake, Davis and Cache counties hit an unhealthy level for people with respiratory problems. And by Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Salt Lake City will have some of the dirtiest air in the nation. The weather is playing a significant role.

"You wouldn't have the inversion conditions without the high pressure," said Meteorologist Monica Traphagan with the National Weather Service.

It's like a lid on a pot, Traphagan added.

The latest high pressure system has lasted about a week, preventing pollution from escaping.

"The air sinks and that's what keeps everything down here and that's the inversion," Traphagan said.

According to the Division of Air Quality, in the last decade, our worst years were in the early 2000s but last year, Salt Lake, Cache and Utah counties spiked with 35 mandatory action days, when the air quality wasn't in federal compliance.

Experts say 2014, with 21 mandatory days so far this season, is on track to repeat numbers similar to last year.

Quintana feels that leaves her with one option.

"I'm not getting any younger and need to take a closer look at moving," she said.