Neighboring states contribute to Delaware failing air quality report

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    (Steam from smokestacks via ShutterStock)

    The American Lung Association gives Delaware air an “F” for ozone air pollutant.

    The American Lung Association’s annual study finds that more than 4 in 10 people in the United States live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution. All three of Delaware’s counties scored an “F” for ozone pollutants for the seventh straight year, but neighboring states may be to blame.

    “Unfortunately Delaware is on the backside of weather pattern movement,” said Chuck Samoski, Program Manager for the State of Delaware Division of Air Quality. “This causes the introduction of ozone forming compounds from upwind states. This air enters Delaware with pollutants…[and] causes an exceedance of the standard. Delaware has been working with upwind states and EPA to try and develop a Good Neighbor policy so that they reduce the pollutants entering our state.”

    The “State of the Air” report reviews monitoring data on the two most common and harmful types of air pollution – ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot) – and compiles a “report card” telling how much of each type of pollution is in the air where you live and breathe.

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    When asked about surrounding metro areas impacting Delaware’s air quality, Kevin Stewart, Director of Environmental Health for American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic responded, “The Philadelphia-Reading-Camden and New York-Newark metro areas both rank among the worst in the country—the latter being one of only two metro areas outside of California of the seven nationwide that fall on ALL three of the American Lung Association’s “Worst Cities” lists. Considering that there are about 200 metro areas so ranked, this is a significant challenge.”

    Overall, The American Lung Association attributes stronger standards for pollutants and for the sources of pollution to a continued reduction in ozone and particle pollution in the United States.

    In order to continue that trend Stewart advises, “Everyone should be especially sure to avoid the kinds of activities that put air pollution into the atmosphere—open burning of trash, leaves or brush, wood burning, vehicle idling, needless electricity use, etc.—and do activities such as resetting thermostats or using carpooling or mass transit that reduce air pollution.”


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