EPA Annual Air Quality Report Illinois 2011

Attached is the link to the 2011 Illinois Annual Air Quality Report from the Illinois EPA. In it, it quantifies the pollution from 2011 with respect to the major categories that are monitored. Several Sample bits of information are as follows


This is a map of where the air quality sensors are located within Cook County. One thing that is obvious is that there is not enough sensors within the actual City of Chicago. Most of these sensors are on the periphery of the city.



This is the breakdown of the number of sensors within all of Illinois. One problem is that there are only 1 CO2, 5 Particulate matter, and very few of the other important sensors throughout the state.


Here are the sampled days. The samples are taken every 3 days.


Particulate Matter


The Chicago Metro Region ranks amongst the worst regions in the United States within Air Quality, specifically within respects to Short Term Particulate Matter

What Is Particle Pollution?

Particle pollution refers to a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe. But nothing about particle pollution is simple. And it is so dangerous it can shorten your life.

Size matters. Particles themselves are different sizes. Some are one-tenth the diameter of a strand of hair. Many are even tinier; some are so small they can only be seen with an electron microscope. Because of their size, you can’t see the individual particles. You can only see the haze that forms when millions of particles blur the spread of sunlight.

The differences in size make a big difference in how they affect us. Our natural defenses help us to cough or sneeze larger particles out of our bodies. But those defenses don’t keep out smaller particles, those that are smaller than 10 microns (or micrometers) in diameter, or about one-seventh the diameter of a single human hair. These particles get trapped in the lungs, while the smallest are so minute that they can pass through the lungs into the blood stream, just like the essential oxygen molecules we need to survive.

Researchers categorize particles according to size, grouping them as coarse, fine and ultrafine. Coarse particles fall between 2.5 microns and 10 microns in diameter and are called PM10-2.5. Fine particles are 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller and are called PM2.5. Ultrafine particles are smaller than 0.1 micron in diamete25 and are small enough to pass through the lung tissue into the blood stream, circulating like the oxygen molecules themselves. No matter what the size, particles can harm your health.

“A mixture of mixtures.” Because particles are formed in so many different ways, they can be composed of many different compounds. Although we often think of particles as solids, not all are. Some are completely liquid; some are solids suspended in liquids. As the EPA puts it, particles are really “a mixture of mixtures.”26

The mixtures differ between the eastern and western United States and in different times of the year. For example, the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast states have more sulfate particles than the West on average, largely due to the high levels of sulfur dioxide emitted by large, coal-fired power plants. By contrast, nitrate particles from motor vehicle exhaust form a larger proportion of the unhealthful mix in the winter in the Northeast, Southern California, the Northwest, and North Central U.S

This data is located here


Data and information on Air Quality and pollutants

Below is data available by the American Lung Association. Although I could not locate GIS files that are available to Chicago for pollution the EPA has several reports posted that detail the information being gathered and the applications of this data.


This is available at this link



This is an EPA report on gathering pollution data with sections highlighting Chicago


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.