BUSHFIRE smoke and dust storms that blanketed Dubbo for much of the summer could lead to serious long-term effects, including shortening your life.
The drought and widespread bushfires across NSW regularly resulted in poor air quality for Central West and Orana residents during the three-month period.
In Dubbo during summer, air quality was reduced due to dust storms on 24 days, bushfire smoke on 30 days, with another 12 days of both dust and smoke.
This was the equivalent of having poor air quality for 72.5 per cent of the summer season.
Residents in Condobolin breathed easier, but only slightly, with dust storms on 21 days, bushfire smoke on 26 days, and two days that featured both. In total 53.8 per cent of the season.
In Parkes, there were 14 days of dust, 34 days of smoke and two days of both, which is the equivalent of 54.9 per cent of summer.
A spokesman for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), who provided the data, said the air quality across the region was consistent with conditions recorded across NSW during the "unprecedented summer bushfires".
"During the bushfire emergency our network recorded some of the highest air pollution ever seen in NSW, particularly for PM2.5, which are particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter," he said.
Air quality monitoring stations are also located in Bathurst and Orange, and the DPIE spokesman said data from these five stations is considered generally to be "representative of air quality in the NSW Central West".
A NSW Health spokeswoman said depending on the particular pollutant, short-term exposure has different health effects to long-term exposure.
"Short-term exposure exacerbates, or makes worse, pre-existing illnesses such as asthma, chronic bronchitis (also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD) or heart disease," she said.
"Longer-term exposure can actually cause the development of respiratory and heart conditions and shorten someone's life."
The spokeswoman said exposure to air pollution can also cause a wide range of mild symptoms such as irritation of your eyes, nose and throat.
The DPIE spokesman said the NSW Government operates more than 90 air quality stations across the state and has been working to "broaden the network into more regional areas in consultation with local councils".
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