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mi-American Lung Association “State of the Air 2018” Report Finds Mixed Grades for Air Quality in Michigan

(April 18, 2018) -

Editors’ Note:  Trend charts and rankings for metropolitan areas and county grades are available at www.stateoftheair.org.

Detroit, Michigan [Embargoed Until: 12:01 a.m. (EDT), April 18, 2018]— The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2018” report released today shows mixed results for Michigan.

Many areas had more unhealthy ozone days than in the 2017 report.

The Detroit Metropolitan Area is ranked 40th most polluted for ozone.  The metro area maintained its fewest days ever with unhealthy particle pollution and had lower levels ever for year-round levels for particle pollution.

The Grand Rapids Metropolitan Area slightly increased its weighted average number of days with unhealthy ozone levels and ranked tied for 34th most polluted in the nation.  The metro area maintained its lowest year-round particle levels as well as the same number of unhealthy days for short-term particle pollution.

This report documents how warmer temperatures brought by climate change make ozone more likely to form and harder to clean up. This year’s report showed that ozone levels increased in most cities nationwide, in large part due to warmer temperatures in 2016, the second hottest year on record in the U.S. Over the past decades, ozone pollution has decreased nationwide because the nation has cleaned up major sources of the emissions that create ozone, especially vehicles and coal-fired power plants.

 Each year the “State of the Air” reports on the two most widespread outdoor air pollutants, ozone pollution and particle pollution. The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: through average annual particle pollution levels and short-term spikes in particle pollution. Both ozone and particle pollution are dangerous to public health and can be lethal.

 

Ozone (smog) is the most widespread air pollutant, created by the reaction of sunlight on emissions from vehicles and other sources. When ozone is inhaled, it irritates the lungs, like a bad sunburn. It can cause immediate health problems and continue days later. Ozone can cause wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and premature death. 

Particle pollution levels can spike dangerously for hours to weeks on end (short-term) or remain at unhealthy levels on average every day (year-round). Particle pollution can penetrate deep into the lungs and even into the bloodstream, leading to premature deaths, asthma attacks and heart attacks, as well as lung cancer.

“The 2018 ‘State of the Air’ report finds unhealthful levels of ozone put our citizens at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks and greater difficulty breathing for those living with lung disease like COPD,” said Ken Fletcher, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Michigan. “Across the nation, the report found continued improvement in air quality, but still, more than four in 10 Americans – 133.9 million – live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution, where their health is at risk”

“Healthy air protections are under attack, and must be defended to save lives here and across the country. Air travels from one state to another, so only federal protections can help protect the air we all breathe,” added Fletcher.

Below are the counties with grades and any changes in the grades.*

 

                                        Ozone     Change                                                   Particle        Change

                                        Grade                                                                       Pollution

                                                                                                                            Grade***

Allegan.................. F........... No Change................................ A............... No Change

Bay........................ **.......................................................... A............... No Change

Benzie................... F........... Worsened from C...................... **

Berrien.................. F........... No Change................................ A............... No Change

Cass....................... F........... Worsened from D………………………**

Chippewa.............. B........... Worsened from A...................... A............... No Change

Clinton................... D........... Improved.................................. **

Genesee................ F........... Worsened from C...................... B............... No Change

Huron.................... D........... Worsened from C...................... **

Ingham.................. C........... Worsened from B...................... A............... No Change

Kalamazoo............. F........... Worsened from B...................... B............... No Change

Kent...................... F........... Worsened from C...................... B............... No Change

Lenawee............... C........... No Change................................ A............... No Change

Macomb................ F........... No Change................................ B............... No Change

Manistee............... C........... No Change................................ A............... Improved

Mason................... D........... Worsened from C...................... **

Missaukee............. D........... Worsened from A...................... A............... No Change

Monroe................. **.......................................................... B............... No Change

Muskegon............. F........... No Change................................ **

Oakland................. F........... Worsened from B...................... B……………….No Change

Ottawa.................. F........... Worsened from D...................... **

St. Clair.................. F........... No Change................................ B............... No Change

Schoolcraft............ F........... Worsened from D...................... **

Washtenaw........... F........... Worsened from C...................... A............... No Change

Wayne................... F........... Worsened from D...................... C............... No Change

 

*Not all counties have grades because not all counties have air pollution monitors.

**Data not collected on that particular pollutant in that county.

***Short term particle pollution grades. Annual particle pollution grades can be found with the entire report at www.stateoftheair.org.  All Michigan counties with data received a passing grade on annual particle pollution.

To see how your community ranks in “State of the Air 2018,” to learn how to protect yourself and your family from air pollution, and to join the fight for healthy air, visit: www.StateOfTheAir.org.

Background

The American Lung Association “State of the Air 2018” report uses the most recent quality-assured air pollution data, collected by federal, state and local governments and tribes in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The data comes from official monitors for the two most widespread types of pollution, ozone and particle pollution. The report grades counties, ranking cities and counties based on scores calculated by average number of unhealthy days (for ozone and for short-term particle pollution) and by annual averages (for year-round particle pollution).

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