Weather: a sandstorm could hit France this Monday, what are the health risks?

A sandstorm could hit France on Monday, September 12. A new episode generated by the south wind from the Sahara whose particles represent a threat to health and agriculture.

After the heat wave, the storms, a sandstorm could well hit France on Monday.

Particles will travel through the atmosphere to France.

Airborne dust poses a serious threat to human health. The size largely determines the extent of the danger. Particles larger than 10 μm cannot be inhaled and therefore only affect external organs.

They mainly cause skin and eye irritations, as well as conjunctivitis and increase the risk of eye infection.

Respiratory conditions

Particles that can be inhaled, smaller than 10 μm in size, often settle in the nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract and can cause respiratory ailments (asthma, tracheitis, pneumonia, allergic rhinitis, silicosis, etc.) according to the WMO (World Health Organization), explains Swissinfo.

“These fine particles represent a lesser danger than the ultrafine particles of road traffic, which can penetrate the brain and the blood system”, declared to AFP Thomas Bourdrel, medical radiologist, researcher at the University of Strasbourg, member of the Air Health Climate collective.

What’s more, this dust would carry pollens, bacteria, viruses and pesticidesemphasizes Thomas Bourdrel, in an article for the journal European Respiratory.

For the moment, Europe is relatively spared from sandstorms. In countries more often confronted with this phenomenon, people suffering from respiratory or cardiac insufficiency are more at risk.

Adverse effects on agriculture

With regard to agriculture, National Geographic assures us that this dust would, on the contrary, be rather good for the planet because it is often rich in iron and phosphorusessential to plants.

But this dust would also have many harmful effects on agriculture: in particular, it would reduce yields because it stifles seedlingscauses loss of plant tissue, reduces photosynthesis and increases soil erosion.

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