Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jersey earns 10th straight F for air quality

NJ gets a double wallop when it comes to air pollution. Not only do we generate much of it ourselves from transportation, factories, and our own power plants, but we also have to deal with pollutants, specifically mercury and particulate matter, carried over from coal burning plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Regardless of the source, our poor air quality leads to both chronic and acute health problems, which in turn results in an increase in sick days for both students and workers. It's of particular concern to children, the elderly, and those with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

You can read more about it at the links below:

New Jersey officials estimate a third of the air pollution in the state drifts east from power plants and other sources in the Midwest. Lagarenne says the biggest problem area "is really the Ohio River Valley, that's where all these big coal plants are, that's what dumps the mercury which is the worst pollutant."

Air pollution takes a significant toll on human health in New Jersey every year, shortening thousands of lives and sending thousands of people to area hospitals.

Premature death and hospital admissions are the most visible indicators of widespread health damage caused by air pollution. This damage manifests itself in the incidence of disease like chronic bronchitis, increased emergency room visits, more frequent asthma attacks, and missed work days due to respiratory illness in otherwise healthy people. At the root of all of these health problems lies irreparable damage to lung tissues not unlike that caused by second-hand tobacco smoke.

And while our air quality today is somewhat improved from ten years ago, it still gets a failing grade.

New Jersey's air was given failing grades for a 10th consecutive year by the American Lung Association in its annual "State of the Air" report, which again found that people in rural corners of the state suffer as badly as they do in the grittiest urban areas.

1 comment:

  1. Feds say 13 N.J. counties need cleaner air

    Federal officials have told 13 of New Jersey's 21 counties to clean up their dirty air within five years.

    The Environmental Protection Agency said airborne soot in those counties exceeds the government's 24-hour limit. The EPA said long-term exposure leads to a rise in asthma, heart attacks and deaths.

    New Jersey Environmental Protection Department air quality division chief William O'Sullivan said steps adopted by Gov. Jon Corzine's administration that will take effect soon should clean up the air before 2014.

    Rules adopted in March require sharp limits in emissions from the state's seven coal-fired power plant.

    The counties cited are: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Union, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester.