Air quality in many Tribal Alaskan towns and villages represents a serious health threat to its residents. The main challenges for many native villages are diesel emissions, poor indoor air quality, solid waste burning, and wood smoke:
- Diesel is used extensively in rural Alaska. Continued exposure to diesel fumes has been linked to lung disease and aggravation of asthma.
- Most rural Alaska homes are constructed to keep warm air inside and have little ventilation during the cold winter months. This can keep indoor air pollutants from fuel sources locked into homes.
- Garbage cannot be buried in many parts of Alaska because of permafrost so it is often burned. Burning garbage can create dangerous toxic smoke which contains dioxins that can cause cancer.
- Wood smoke also creates health hazards. Inhalation of wood smoke can cause several dangerous health conditions like pneumonia and asthma.