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American Lung Association 2014 Report Finds Worse Ozone Across RI

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

 

Every Rhode Island county with a monitor experienced more unhealthy days of high ozone (smog), reported the American Lung Association in their "State of the Air 2014” report.

Read American Lung Association 2014 Report HERE

At the same time, two counties in Rhode Island cut year-round particle pollution (soot) levels compared to the 2013 report. This is in keeping with a trend seen across the nation of lower particle pollution levels. No county had more days when short-term particle pollution reached unhealthy levels.

“Rhode Island and Eastern states are at the mercy of prevailing winds that carry in soot and smog belched from the power plant chimneys of Rust Belt states. Unless and until the EPA takes action to reduce pollution from power plants, Rhode Island is stuck sucking the tail-pipe of the mid-western states,” said Stephen Majkut, leadership board member, American Lung Association in Rhode Island, and former Chief of Air Resources, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

Washington and Providence County received failing grades in this year’s report, down from a C and D, respectively. Washington had 6 more orange days and one more red day than in 2013 while Providence experienced seven more orange days. And while Kent received a passing grade, the county had 2 more orange days and was downgraded from a C to a D for ozone. At the same time, the Boston-Worcester-Providence metro area had worse ozone even though its ranking on the list of most polluted cities for ozone improved slightly.

ALA: Steps to Improve Air Quality

  • Clean up power plants. The EPA needs to reduce carbon pollution. Ozone and particle pollution that blows across state lines must be controlled. In the next year, the Administration has pledged to set standards for carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.
  • Strengthen the outdated ozone standards. The EPA needs to set a strong, health-based standard to limit ozone pollution. Strong standards will drive the needed cleanup of ozone across the nation.
  • Clean up new wood-burning devices. The EPA needs to issue strong standards to clean up new wood stoves, outdoor wood boilers and other residential wood-burning devices.
  • Fund the work to provide healthy air. Congress needs to adequately fund the work of the EPA and the states to monitor and protect the nation from air pollution.
  • Protect the Clean Air Act. Congress needs to ensure that the protections under the Clean Air Act remain strong and enforced.

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2014 report is an annual, national air quality “report card.” The 2014 report—the 15th annual release—uses the most recent quality assured air pollution data, compiled by the EPA, in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Data comes from the official monitors for the two most widespread types of pollution, ozone (smog) and particle pollution (PM 2.5, also known as soot). The report grades counties and ranks cities and counties based on their scores for ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution levels.

Significant Findings

Providence:

  • Ozone grade dropped from a D to an F (14 orange unhealthy days, 7 more than in 2013 report)
  • Short-term particle pollution grade remained a C(2 orange unhealthy days and one red unhealthy days, the same as in 2013)
  • Annual level of particle pollution level improved.

Kent:

  • Ozone grade dropped from a C to a D; 7 orange unhealthy air days ( 2 more than in 2012)
  • Short-term particle pollution grade remained an A (no unhealthy air days)
  • Annual particle pollution level improved slightly
  • Earned a place on the list of cleanest counties for short-term particle pollution

Washington

  • Ozone grade dropped from a C to an F ( 12 unhealthy orange days, 6 more than in 2013 plus a red day)
  • Washington County now has a particle pollution monitor but there is insufficient data to give a grade for either short-term or annual particle pollution.

Washington County now has a particle pollution monitor but there is insufficient data to give a grade for either short-term or annual particle pollution.

There are no air pollution monitors in Bristol or Newport counties.

 

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