Long Island Press: Report: Suffolk Gets Failing Grade for Air Quality

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By Timothy Bolger on April 27th, 2011


Suffolk County has been ranked the smoggiest county in New York State for a dozen years running in an air pollution report issued Wednesday by The American Lung Association.

The county earned an F for ozone pollution, which forms when sunlight reacts with exhaust from vehicles, factories and power plants. But there was good news: Suffolk received an A—up from last year’s B—for short-term particle pollution, a cocktail of ash, soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols.

“If we want to achieve better lung health, we must have healthier air,” Dr. Irwin Berlin of the American Lung Association in New York and Chief of the Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine Division at Elmhurst Hospital Center, said in a statement.

The State of the Air 2011 report gave Nassau County a B for particle pollution, up from last year’s C. But since Nassau has no ozone monitor, it was not graded for ozone.

Grades were based partly on the color-coded Air Quality Index developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to alert the public to daily unhealthy air conditions.

The report identified the number of days that each county with at least one air quality monitor experienced air quality designated as orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups), red (unhealthy), or purple (very unhealthy).

Suffolk had no purple days—down from one a year prior—and reduced its number of red days from six to two. It had 34 orange days, the same as in 2010.

Nassau had two orange particle pollution days, one fewer than the prior year.