CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Farmers in the agricultural industry work year-round to tend to their crops. Now, many of them enter the harvest season and once those crops are out, they have to decide what to do with the remaining plant stalks.
This is where farmers decide whether to burn off their fields, roll their stalks, or leave them until next season.
For those with asthma, respiratory, or cardiac issues, this poses a threat.
Assistant professor at the College of Osteopathic Medicine Dr. Troy Camarata said they’re researching the air quality daily.
“Our concern is the health of the northeast and greater Delta population,” he said.
Research began roughly 2.5 years ago to understand if there is a connection between agricultural burning of fields and health impacts.
“We finally got permission from the agency that manages Medicare and Medicare health information, so we’ll be getting that information and that data in to see how well it correlates with our daily measurements of local air quality.”
While this research isn’t complete, Dr. Camarata said they had gathered some information.
“Most of the time, our air quality is fine but there are influences where we do get air pollution that does go beyond our normal levels into the area where it is unhealthy especially for susceptible people,” he said.
Things such as field burning, California wildfires, and dust from the Sahara affect the air quality.
He suggests that everyone limit their time outdoors when fields are burning in your area. He strongly encouraged this for children, those over 65, or with respiratory or cardiac diseases.