A helicopter drops water onto the Cameron Bluffs wildfire near Port Alberni, British Columbia, on Tuesday.James MacDonald / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Detroit’s air quality is among the world’s worst because of the Canadian wildfires, potentially worsening many health problems that residents of the predominantly Black city have struggled with for generations.  

Detroit resident Sandra Turner-Handy, a retiree of the Michigan Environmental Council, said that before the fires, residents had been breathing high-particulate matter and other toxins “on a consistent basis.” She said she is especially concerned about the effects of the fires on those who live near the Detroit River, an area sought for industrial use that has high levels of pollution.

She said Detroit’s “asthma rates are three times that of other cities in our state.” 

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