Air quality receives failing grades in Wisconsin

Posted at 5:12 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 23:05:06-04

The American Lung Association released their 2016 "State of the Air" report today. Milwaukee County received an "F."

It shows that while overall quality of the air has improved, the levels of ozone in the air compared to new standards announced by the EPA are still at dangerous levels.

The report focuses on the two most widespread air pollutants; ozone pollution and particle pollution.

In Wisconsin and across the nation, levels of ozone are declining. That is mostly attributed to big changes at the national level like cleaning up coal-fired power plants and requiring better fuel efficiency in cars.

However, last year the standard was 75ppb (parts per billion) and this year that has been changed to 70ppb. Meaning people in Wisconsin are still being exposed to dangerous levels.

Harmful affects are more prominent in children, the elderly or people with asthma or other lung diseases.

Particle pollution is made of soot or tiny particles that come from coal-fired power plants, diesel emissions, wildfires and wood-burning devices.

So although the report shows some grades not to be proud of, the overall trend is going in the right direction. Health officials are learning more about how harmful bad air quality can be, and are adjusting the standards accordingly.

Ideally, one day a report will show zero high ozone days regardless of what the standards are.

To see the report or get alerts for air quality reports in your area, visit the American Lung Association's website here.