Thursday, March 20, 2008

A reason to testify for a smoke-free Eau Claire next Monday

Today the Tobacco Free Partnership of Eau Claire County released a report in conjunction with the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center on air quality in restaurants and bars in Eau Claire and surrounding communities. The results revealed staggeringly dangerous levels of indoor air pollution in the eating and drinking establishments that were visited.

The Eau Claire City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposed smoke-free ordinance on Monday, March 24th, at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall (203 S. Farwell St.). We need supporters to attend and urge the City Council to approve a smoke-free ordinance that protects the public and all workers, including restaurant and bar workers, from secondhand smoke without delay.

Here is an excerpt from the report that really got to me: "Air quality in 11 of the 13 establishments was at a level two or more times greater than what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates as hazardous, even when only one or two people in a restaurant or tavern were smoking."

No one should have to work in an environment that the EPA deems "hazardous." To put it into perspective, the Wisconsin DNR issued "air quality alerts" last fall and early winter when the outdoor air reached "unhealthy" levels. The "hazardous" level is twice as polluted as the "unhealthy" level; the levels in 11 out of the 13 establishments tested were at least 2 times greater than the "hazardous" level - literally off the chart. You can see a picture of the chart with the full study here.

Eau Claire citizens have the chance next Monday to ask their City Council to pass an ordinance that would require all workplaces to be smoke-free. Please, go and testify and urge your alders to vote "YES" for Clear Air Eau Claire!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sure use outdoor standards. How did it compare to OSHA standards?