WAMC News, New England News, North Country News
11:51 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Air Quality Improves, But Still Problematic in Northeast

The American Lung Association has released their annual State of the Air report.  While there has been some improvement in air quality, air across the Northeast is still too polluted.

The State of the Air report assesses the levels of ozone and particle pollution in areas closest to air monitoring stations across the country. The American Lung Association of the Northeast found that while air quality is the cleanest since the annual report began 13 years ago, air quality in New York and Connecticut remains, overall, unhealthy.  Lung Association Assistant Vice President for National Policy and Advocacy Janice Nolan says while some areas received their highest grades ever, 127 million people still deal with poor air quality.

In New York,  6 of 34 counties with monitoring stations received a failing grade, but that’s an improvement over last year's report, which failed 16 counties, according to American Lung Association in New York Vice President Michael Seilback.

Schenectady County had the cleanest air in the Capital region of New York and Essex County is among the top five cleanest counties nationally for annual particle pollution.  But Westchester County is the third ozone dirtiest in the state and New York City is ranked as one of the 15 most ozone polluted cities in the nation.
That dirty air is flowing into neighboring states. American Lung Association of the Northeast Senior Vice President for Health Promotion and Public Policy Ed Miller says Connecticut’s Fairfield County is the most polluted county in the New York City metropolitan area, with the worst ozone levels in the Northeast.

Michael Seilback emphasized that the Clean Air Act must be protected in order for air quality to improve.

The report shows that the cleanest counties in Massachusetts, with A grades for short term particle pollution, are Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Plymouth and Worcester.
In Vermont, Burlington was among the top cleanest cities nationally in short and long term particle pollution.
The State of the Air report bases its grades on the U.S. EPA’s Air Quality Index.