Verify: Is air quality in West Michigan getting better?

Thursday, 19 Apr, 2018

Sonoma County earned a flawless score for the fifth straight year in the American Lung Association's latest air quality report card for the state covering the three years ending in 2016 and not including last year's wildfires that fouled the region's air and prompted public health warnings.

The health risks include lung cancer, asthma attacks, and developmental problems among children, among other issues.

The report ranks Charlotte as the nation's 41st most-polluted city from ozone, the report says.

This year's report found that almost 140 million Americans lived in counties with "unhealthful levels of either ozone of particle pollution".

Annual State of Global Air Report published by Health effects institute based in Boston has claimed that more than 95% people around the world are breathing unhealthy air. Warmer temperatures stimulate the reactions in the atmosphere that cause ozone to form, and 2016 saw the second warmest temperatures on record in the United States.

The 2018 report also found year-round particle pollution levels slightly lower than the 2017 report.

Of the 25 cities with the highest ozone levels, 16 experienced an increase in high-ozone days in 2016, the report found.

The report also raises alarm about changes to the Clean Air Act being considered by the Trump administration.

"In terms of fine particulate matter, we are hanging in there, but it will take tough decisions to ensure that our state attains federal air quality standards given pressures such as an increase in population, along with more housing and vehicle emissions", said Denni Cawley, executive director of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. Get 10 tips to protect yourself from unhealthy air. "Much of their high particle levels likely come from coal-fired power plants, which line the region, as well as diesel emissions from transportation sources including heavy-duty trucks, rail and marine fleets using the Lakes for transport".

Each year State of the Air provides a report card on the two most widespread outdoor air pollutants, ozone pollution, also known as smog, and particle pollution, also called soot. Each year the agency reviews smog data for counties across the US and determines which counties might be in violation of the nation's clean air laws.

Same goes for particle pollution, mostly - Visalia-Porterville-Hanford; Bakersfield; Los Angeles-Long Beach; Fresno-Madera, and Modesto-Merced are all California cities that top the list.

For year-round particle pollution, the county dropped one place - from 13th to 12th worst in the country. In 2016, a total of 2.5 billion people - one in three of global citizens - were exposed to air pollution from solid fuels such as wood or charcoal.

Valley cities still remain some of the most polluted in the country.