Walmart, Johnson Controls see higher demand for air purifiers in Northeast US

(Reuters) -Walmart and Johnson Controls saw an uptick in demand for air filtration products in the U.S. Northeast after smoke from wildfires ravaging Canadian forests drifted south, blanketing cities in thick, yellow haze.

On Friday, retailer Walmart said it had witnessed an increase in demand across the region for a variety of items, including air purifiers and was working to meet the demand.

Johnson Controls, a maker of air filters, late on Thursday said it received more inquiries at its branches in the northeast region about filtration products and other ways to address indoor air quality.

In some areas, the air quality index (AQI), which measures major pollutants including particulate matter produced by fires, was over 150, according to Airnow, which sets 100 as "unhealthy".

It is the worst case of wildfire smoke blanketing the U.S. Northeast in more than 20 years, according to private forecasting service AccuWeather.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in a tweet on Wednesday 1 million N95 masks would be made available at state facilities on Friday.

Home Depot Inc said on Thursday it was shipping supplies of air filters, respirator masks, box fans and air scrubbers to meet increased demand in areas impacted by poor air quality.

Industrial conglomerate 3M Co, which makes protective masks and air purifiers, also said it was able to meet demand for its disposable respirators and was working to deliver additional inventory.

(Reporting by Nathan Gomes and Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Maju Samuel)