News Worms
News Worms

New report finds cleaner air for many, but not all

New report finds cleaner air for many, but not all

The State of the Air 2017 report is based on air quality monitoring data collected in 2013 - 2015, the most recent years available.

The San Joaquin Valley areas of Bakersfield, Visalia (Tulare County) and Fresno surpassed the Bay Area for particle pollution, while the Los Angeles-Long Beach region was slightly cleaner than the Bay Area. The metro area was also listed as one of the nation's cleanest cities in short-term spikes of particle pollution, often called soot.

But despite the "F" grade, Rockdale continues to improve, having only 14 "Code Orange" days and no "Code Red" or "Code Purple" days, compared to 24 "Code Orange" days and two "Code Red" days in the 2016 report. Cuyahoga County had three days of soot readings at concentrations considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

When it comes to federal health guidelines, Barrett says annual particle pollution should be below 12.0 micrograms per cubic meter of monitored air.

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Santa Barbara County received an "F" for its ozone grade, but got an "A" in the short-term particle pollution category, and passed for annual particle pollution.

The progress in cleaner air has come in part due to cleaner power plants and increased use of cleaner vehicles and engines, leading to fewer days of high ozone levels and lower levels of year-round particle pollution.

"I see the health effects of air pollution first-hand", Dr. David Hill, a Yale University medical professor who serves as a regional vice-chair for the lung association.

San Diego County's air quality has dramatically improved since the year 2000. "So we need to make sure things like the Clean Power Plan are implemented".

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Many cities, such as Charleston, reached their lowest levels of ozone and year-round particle pollution ever. San Diego now ranks seventh among the nation's top 10 dirtiest cities for ozone pollution. The health risks include lung cancer, asthma attacks, and developmental problems among children, among other issues.

Numerous cities that reported the worst number of unhealthy days are concentrated in the Western states, including California, Oregon, and Nevada, and experienced wildfire smoke. It received the high mark along with San Francisco, Sonoma and Santa Cruz counties - all of which logged no unhealthy ozone days, according to the report.

The report shows Brown County received a grade "B" for particle pollution.

"In fact Kent and Sussex Counties are among the cleanest in the country with the sixth year of straight A grades for short term, for the daily measure of fine particle pollution", said Stewart. "This law has driven the improvements in air quality for 47 years". President Donald Trump has proposed cuts to federal climate science funding and has deregulated industries that are a major source of risky emissions.

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• In California and nationwide, the number of unhealthy days for ozone has decreased, thanks, says the Lung Association, to the success of the federal Clean Air Act as well as state and local air pollution control programs that clean up major sources of emissions.


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