Toledo air quality rated poorly, but better than other Ohio citiesWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Although many areas of the country, including Northwest Ohio, have made progress on improving air quality over the past few years, Lucas County still earned a grade of D for ozone pollution in The American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report.
The report was released April 24 and used data compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency from 2009-2011.
The Toledo-Fremont area was tied for the 80th most polluted air in the nation, a ranking worse than last year when Toledo-Fremont was ranked 83rd, according to a news release about the report.
However, Toledo’s ranking fell only because other cities in the country improved more, not because Toledo’s air quality got worse, said Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Ohio.
“Other cities across the country made improvements faster, but you did better than most cities in Ohio, so I guess it’s a mixed bag,” Kiser said.
Cincinnati had the worst ozone quality in Ohio, coming in at 14th most polluted in the nation. Cleveland was tied for 35th and Columbus tied for 54th, Kiser said.
“Toledo didn’t do too bad this year compared to other Ohio cities,” Kiser said. “The ozone didn’t get any better, but it didn’t get any worse and that’s actually better than other cities in Ohio can say. A lot of cities in Ohio saw it get worse and you maintained.”
Toledo-Fremont’s ranking for annual particle pollution was 58th in the nation, worse than last year when the area was ranked 61st. Several Ohio cities were among the nation’s 25 worst for year-round particle pollution, including Cincinnati at No. 10, Canton-Massillon at No. 14, Cleveland-Akron-Elyria at No. 20 and Dayton at No. 24.
For short-term particle pollution, the Toledo-Fremont area tied for 79th most polluted in the country, receiving a grade of C, an improved ranking from 73rd in the 2012 report, according to the release.
The top five worst cities in all categories of pollution were in California.
“The air in the Toledo area is certainly cleaner than when we started the ‘State of the Air’ report 14 years ago,” Kiser stated in the release. “But the work is not done, and we must set stronger health standards for pollutants and clean up sources of pollution in the Toledo area to protect the health of our citizens.”
Inhaling air pollution, or smog, irritates the lungs and can cause immediate and future health problems, including wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and premature death. Wood County earned a B for ozone pollution.
Despite improvements, nearly 132 million people in the U.S. still live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution, which is more than four in 10 people (42 percent), according to the report
For more information, visit the website www.stateoftheair.org.