South Dakota’s Grades For Air Quality Are Slipping | American Lung Association

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South Dakota’s Grades For Air Quality Are Slipping

Media contact from ALA in SD: Robert Moffitt (651) 269-7561

(April 20, 2016) - SIOUX FALLS, SD

South Dakota’s most populous county is also the most polluted, according to the American Lung Association “State of the Air Report” released today.  Minnehaha County earned a “C” grade for ozone and a “B” grade for particulate pollution.  Four of the nine counties in South Dakota that provide air quality data had lower scores in this year’s report, representing a setback from 2015, when South Dakota’s air earned nearly straight “A” grades (Union County was the only “B” grade last year, for particulate pollution). To see the complete report, click here.

Custer County also saw a downward shift in its report card for ozone pollution, moving from an “A” to a “C” grade.  Brookings and Meade counties slid from “A” marks to “B” grades for both ozone and particulate pollution. The scores for Brown, Codington, Jackson, Pennington and Union counties remained unchanged – all “As” except for Union County’s “B” grade for particulate pollution.

The State of the Air Report uses data collected at nine state-owned air quality monitors and certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This year’s report analyzed data from the three-year period of 2012 to 2014. Grades are determined by the number of air quality alerts for ozone or particle pollution that occurred during those three years.

“Short-term weather patterns that contribute to the formation of ground level ozone and drifting smoke from wildfires are among the factors that can lower grades from year to year,” said Robert Moffitt, a spokesperson for the American Lung Association in South Dakota. “They serve as a reminder that ‘bad air days’ can occur everywhere, including in states like South Dakota that meet federal air quality standards.”

Ozone and particle pollution can trigger asthma attacks, put people at higher risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and are a particular health concern for people with preexisting lung disease, the very young and the elderly.

The American Lung Association report was released as states continue to debate their response to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants.  South Dakota has joined other states in a lawsuit to halt the Clean Power Plan, which is now before the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Both Minnesota and Iowa are moving forward to develop state plans to meet the emission targets set by the EPA.

About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:  Lung.org.

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