Air quality within Chicago

This article is about the problem with air quality in the city. Each year the American Lung Association posts grades for urban areas based upon the air quality and currently Chicago is among the worst in the United States for short term particle pollution. These are short several day periods of high exposure to pollutants.

Cook County Gets "F" in Air Quality: Report

When it comes to air quality, a new report says the country has improved overall, but Chicago gets a failing grade.

The American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report card notes air quality has improved overall in the U.S. in the past 15 years. Still Chicago and Cook County have not cut year-round soot levels and even saw an increase in the number of high ozone days.

For that Cook and Lake counties get an “F.” DuPage, Will McHenry and Kane counties get a “B.”

“Even though Chicago experienced increases in unhealthy days of high ozone, the air quality is still better compared to a decade ago,” Healthy Air Campaign manager Mike Kolleng said. “But the work is not done, and we must set stronger health standards for pollutants and cleanup sources of pollution in Chicago to protect the health of our citizens.”

The report says Chicago’s air pollution still shows up in Cook County, which remained the same in its year-round soot pollution and below new particle standards. The American Lung Association reports such particle pollution levels can remain at unhealthy levels for days.

The State of the Air 2013 report found more than 131.8 million U.S. residents, or 42 percent of the population, live in areas with unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution.

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