Archive for Friday, May 2, 2008

B’ is for ‘Breathe’: Report measures ozone

May 2, 2008

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Douglas Countians are breathing good air, according to a report released Thursday by the American Lung Association.

The report shows the county got a "B" for ozone levels.

Kansas overall, however, received a mixed report card for outdoor air pollution, the association's State of the Air 2008 determined.

"Both our local scores and national trends tell us that we have more work to do to protect our families and our neighbors from dangerous air pollution," Sara Dreiling, chief executive of the association's central state's region, said in a news release.

She said Kansans are not yet breathing air that's clean enough to be safe.

But Kansas didn't do that badly, said Joe Blubaugh, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

"I think what I'm seeing at a glance is that the air quality in Kansas is pretty good," he said.

Other "B" grades concerning ozone were received by Johnson, Leavenworth and Sumner counties.

Trego and Sedgwick counties each received an "A." Wyandotte County earned a "C."

"We are already aware of the challenges we have in the Kansas City area, and we are working on those," Blubaugh said.

Ozone is the primary ingredient of smog air pollution and is harmful to breathe.

Regulations are being drafted to address ozone concerns in Kansas City, he said. They include reducing noxious emissions from two power plants and idling restrictions for heavy-duty vehicles. Other voluntary measures have been encouraged, such as fueling vehicles and mowing lawns in the evening to reduce ozone.

Some counties also were graded on 24-hour particle pollution and year-around particle pollution. Data on those categories were not collected in Douglas County.

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