Five areas in Pa., N.J. and Del. rank among smoggiest

    Philadelphia is the eighth-smoggiest area in the country. The Monmouth-Ocean area in New Jersey and Wilmington-Newark areas in Delaware tie for 15th. Trenton is 20th smoggiest.

    That is according to a report released Wednesday by Penn Environment and Environment New Jersey.

    The environmental groups crunched the numbers to highlight how many additional days would be considered unhealthy had tougher ozone regulations proposed by the EPA been adopted.

    The report said smog days in Trenton would double under the “more protective” standard, and grow by two-thirds in Wilmington.

    “We need to establish those new stronger, protections that will help clean up our air and that will keep making progress toward clean air every day,” said PennEnvironment’s Michael Tracht.

    The Obama administration earlier this month shelved plans to move forward in adopting a tighter standard, which proposed to change the limit of ozone from 75 parts per billion to somewhere between 60 and 70 parts per billion. Obama delayed action until 2013, a move that elicited outcry from environmental groups and applause from some lawmakers and the utility industry.

    Jeff Yanosky, an epidemiology professor at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine who studies air pollution, said he was disappointed by the administration’s announcement.

    “Eventually if the standard were lower, communities and counties (could be) held in non-compliance,” Yanosky said, “which eventually does have consequence for their transportation funding, and it also impacts whether new power plants or new sources of industrial pollution can be located in those areas.”

    Ozone is formed when emissions from industry and car exhaust react in the atmosphere and oxidize.

    It reduces lung function and has been linked to asthma and respiratory infection.

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