Dried up: In Utah, drying Great Salt Lake leads to air pollution
Air pollution in Salt Lake City was so bad last year it set off the fire alarms in Elizabeth Joy’s clinic. Joy, a family and sports medicine doctor, said that her patients had to be evacuated as part of the emergency response. Yet in sending the patients outside, the alarms actually put people in an even more dangerous position given the city’s air quality at the time — which was judged to be the worst in the world on that particular day. … Cars and wildfires contribute to Utah’s air pollution, but the Great Salt Lake is a less obvious but important contributor. Sitting just northwest of Salt Lake City, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere is drying up because of water use and drought amid a changing climate, sending dust with toxic metals — including arsenic — in the air of a metro area with approximately 1.2 million people.