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Staffordshire residents urged to take care after spike in air pollution, smog and Sahara dust

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: April 04, 2014

A dust covered car bonnet

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A SPIKE in air pollution across Staffordshire has sparked warnings for residents with asthma and chronic lung conditions to take extra care.

Air pollution is expected to decrease later today, but earlier this week they rose sharply across the West Midlands, London and the south after easterly winds brought in pollutants, potentially mixed with Saharan dust.

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Support Member for Public Health and Community Safety, said: “People will have noticed the cloudier skies over the last few days.

“While this doesn’t prove an issue for most of us, we would encourage children and adults with lung problems to follow Government advice to look after themselves and in particular cut back on any strenuous exertion until the clouds lift at the weekend.”

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Car owners are also being warned to take care when they wash the Sahara dust off their vehicles as it could cause damage to the paintwork.

Abrasive red dust and sand has been brought over from the Sahara desert due to uncommon weather patterns and has been deposited on vehicles across the country.

The dust ‘smog’ has already sparked health warnings, but now car experts are also flagging up their concerns.

Autoglym’s Technical Director, Paul Coley, said: “If you woke to find your once clean car covered in a fine layer of red dust, you are not alone.

“The dust was carried in clouds from desert regions and ‘rained down’ during light showers. The dust will not harm your car when it rains down, but if you are too eager to remove it you may cause long term damage to your paintwork, which may be difficult to correct, especially if you have a matt or satin finish that cannot be polished.

“We have five top tips on how to correctly remove the dust and sand and ensure that your paintwork remains vibrant and scratch free.”

The tips are:

- Don’t write your name in it! Sand and other large particles are abrasive, so wiping with your finger or a cloth may cause fine scratches that will then require polishing later.

- Use plenty of water. Flood the paintwork with water, the loose deposits of dust and sand will be safely carried away.

- Wash with a good quality shampoo.

- Inspect the paintwork damage.

- If any marks or light scratches are found they may have been caused by dust before the car was washed.

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