Dust storms could trigger health problems for Coachella Festival goers

INDIO, Calif. - The frequent dust storms rolling through the valley coat everything in a fine film of dirt, and take a toll on this month's famous festival, Coachella.

"I heard it was pretty muddy and dusty at the festival," said Greg Kronenfeld of New York, whose friends attended weekend one of the fest.

After hearing of last weekend's wild weather, Kronenfeld and his friends came prepared.

"I know a couple of guys in the house have some bandanas in the house ready to go," Kronenfeld said.

Breathing in the irritating dust particles can cause a slew of health problems, especially for people who already suffer from respiratory ailments. Scientists are learning the dust storms carry an array of harmful substances including:

  • Arsenic and other heavy metals
  • Agricultural fertilizers and pesticides
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Viruses

Experts recommend covering up air passageways to avoid breathing in these pathogens.
"I got a twelve pack of bandanas because of the sandstorm. I don't want to be caught without one," said Genna Brownstein of New York.
Still, festival goers say they won't let the weather get in the way of their weekend.

"It makes things a little more unpleasant but I'm going to be having so much fun there's going to be very few things that the weather can do to that," Kronenfeld said.

"No, it won't impact me or my fun level this weekend," Brownstein said.

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