Report: Particulate Pollution In Cuyahoga County Improved, But Still Bad

Stock photo of exhaust from a car. It's one source of particle pollution.
Car exhaust is one source of particle pollution. [Ody_Stocker / Shutterstock]
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For the first time in many years, Cuyahoga County has received a “pass” grade for particle pollution from the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report. The pass/fail grade is set based on federal EPA standards

Overall, this year’s report is a mixed bag for Northeast Ohio. Cuyahoga County did see some improvement in particle pollution, or soot, but it is still the ninth worst metro area in the country for this pollutant. Soot comes from many sources, including car exhaust, fires, and coal power plant emissions.

"Even though we have improved, you want to get so you’re no longer among the worst in the nation, so you want to continue that improvement," said Ken Fletcher, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Ohio.

Smog, or ground-level ozone, was also up this year across Northeast Ohio. Lake County was the worst in terms of bad ozone days.  

The report calls for addressing climate change and strengthening and enforcing the Clean Air Act in order to protect and improve air quality.

Children and older adults, as well as people with diseases like asthma and diabetes, are most at risk for harm from air pollution, said Fletcher, but it isn’t good for anyone.

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