Tis the season. By now Salt Lakers know that the coming of January and deep cold means not a sparkling winter wonderland but a throat-clogging, asthma-inducing smog blanket that’s here to stay until spring. The city’s pollution problem is the main topic of coughing conversations among residents—some days our beautiful mountain town has the worst air quality index in the country. Here’s where they’re not talking about the smog: The Capitol. Maybe this will be the year our legislature will focus on this deadly issue instead of worrying about pornography, miniscule BAC levels and the Second Amendment. Maybe. But don’t hold your breath.

pollution
Jeff Morton, Inventor of Jamo Threads

Most of us have resigned ourselves to a winter wonderland in shades of gray and brown because of the inversion that settles over the city when it’s cold, its arrival heralded by (caused by? JK) the convening of the Utah Legislature. But summer skies used to seem clearer, except for that little brown smudge on the horizon. This year, wildfires added to our usual toxic cocktail so the formerly seasonal hacking and wheezing continued through the hot summer. What to do about it? You can escape it by driving up the canyon to clear air, but you’re just adding to the problem if you have a gas-fueled vehicle. You can cycle or scoot, both non-polluting modes of transportation.  But you’ll breathe even harder, taking in more PM2.5, the tiny particulate that makes up most of Utah’s pollution—giving a new shade of meaning to vicious cycle.

So, for personal health—not addressing the overall problem—we should all be wearing masks when we spend any significant amount of time outdoors.

Order a cool-looking mask from a local company: Nearly four years ago, Jeff Morton was inspired to make a hip but effective mask for his son, who has asthma. His Kickstarter campaign brought in $50,000; “That proved there was a market for this,” he says. Now the company can barely keep up with production. “We recently introduced a version with a replaceable filter,” he says. jamothreads.com

Skip: A surgical mask won’t work. The PM2 particles go right through.

Pick up: A respirator used for home demolition or paint projects is a good option.

  • Check out rzmask.com
  • Respro Sportsta Anti-Pollution Mask – they’re about $65 but they come in pink! respro.com
  • Jamo’s Inversion 2.0 is a stylish PM 2.5 mask with an activated carbon filter meeting requirements of an N95 mask. If you don’t love it, send it back for free. jamothreads.com

Coco-sutra 

In Utah’s harsh desert climate, we all know that hand lotion and water are our best friends. But we don’t often talk about the other areas of our body that may need a little extra moisture. Locally-owned personal lubricant company Coconu is here to help. Organically-produced, Coconu offers both a water and oil-based product for your intimate needs—because even when it’s cold outside your bedroom doesn’t need to be a frozen tundra. coconu.com


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