Friday, May 25, 2018

Lung Association gave an 'F' to Erie and Chautauqua Counties for Ozone -- Increased Heat due to Climate Change is one Contributing Factor

Erie, Chautauqua counties receive 'F' in Lung Association's annual 'State of the Air'
  | Apr 18, 2018 | WBFO

The American Lung Association has released their 2018 “State of the Air” report citing air quality has worsened. It found 9.4 million New Yorkers are breathing unhealthy air.

Credit: American Lung Association
Chautauqua and Erie counties both received an "F" grade for high ozone days from 2014 to 2016. Ozone can have a major impact on children and older adults with asthma and other lung diseases. One of the reasons things look worse is because 2016 was the second hottest year in recorded history for most of America.  Increased heat often means increased ozone.

American Lung Association Vice President for National Policy Janice Nolen said great progress has been made over the past two decades, but rising seasonal temperatures could pose a problem in the future.

“With ozone it does vary a lot because of the relationship with the heat,” said Nolen. “It also means that we have to do more to clean it up because we are battling that heat that is growing as a result of climate change. It’s sort of a continuing struggle. When you look at the trend charts we’re heading in the right direction but we are not where we need to be yet.”

There is also a problem of pollution coming from other parts of the country and settling in certain areas. American Lung Association Vice President of Communications for the Northeast Michael Seilback said New York is part of a region that’s become known as the tailpipe of the nation.
“New York and Connecticut both filed comments with the EPA asking them to take action against a power plant in Pennsylvania, whose air pollution in the ozone is traveling and settling over our region,” said Seilback.

While a hot 2016 year caused serious ozone problems for the region, something New York got “A” grades for was short-term and year-round particle pollution maintenance.

Read more at WBFO 

The American Lung Associations's 'State of the Air 2018' report is here.

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How is Ozone formed at the Ground Level?

Ground-level Ozone ('bad' ozone) is created by chemical reactions between Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the presence of Heat and Sunlight.

Emissions from industrial facilities, electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOCs.

How can Ozone affect my Health?

If you have asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, ozone can make your symptoms worse. Carefully follow your asthma management plan on days when ozone levels are high.

Ozone has also been linked to:

    - Coughing and pain when taking a deep breath
    - Lung and throat irritation
    - Wheezing and trouble breathing during exercise or outdoor activities

Who is most at risk?

Ozone can affect anyone, but it bothers some people more than others. People most likely to experience health effects caused by ozone include:
  • People with asthma or other lung diseases
  • Older adults
  • People of all ages who exercise or work hard outside
  • Babies and children

Protect Yourself and Your Family

The good news is there's a lot you can do to protect yourself and your family from the health effects caused by ground-level ozone. Start by learning about the Air Quality Index from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

See information at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 

See also the New York State DEC Air Monitoring Website

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