Face Masks Distributed for Camp Fire Smoke Are Unnecessary and Could Be Harmful, Sacramento County Health Official Warns

Sacramento fire stations no longer will distribute masks to the public after safety concerns were raised by the county, officials said.

Peter Beilenson, the county’s Department of Health Services director, said the county decided to stop handing out the masks because they aren’t necessary and are potentially harmful. About 67,000 free N95 respirators have been distributed at fire stations across the region.

Rather than relying on the masks, Beilenson said the county is urging people to stay indoors — a much more effective solution to the unhealthy air quality caused by smoke from the Camp fire.

An ashy haze has blanketed many parts of Northern California, leading to an “unhealthy” air quality index. That means most people who breathe the air there can experience health problems, regardless of age or fitness level, said Jenny Tan, a spokeswoman for the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.