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Air quality report finds increase in ozone levels across New York


Nearly nine million New Yorkers live in counties with failing air quality. 

That's one of the findings of The American Lung Association which has released its State of the Air 2014 report. It shows most counties maintained harmful year-round levels of particle pollution, or soot, when compared to a year ago.

Michael Seilback is Vice president, Public Policy and Communications, American Lung Association of the Northeast. He sees air quality in New York counties deteriorating.

“We saw worse grades in some counties, like Erie, Monroe, Wayne, and Niagara compared to last year’s report,” said Seilback.

The report ranks cities and counties most affected by three kinds of pollution: ozone, short-term particle pollution and annual particle pollution. The lead author of the report, Janice Nolen, says the latter is a serious threat, but all types of air pollution jeopardize health.

“Ozone and particle pollution increases the risk of dying early, shortening life by months to years. These pollutants also trigger asthma attacks and heart attacks,” said Nolen.  “[They] increase the risk of lung cancer and make it more likely that people with lung disease or heart disease with be hospitalized or admitted to the emergency room.”

New York State is following the national trend increased ozone pollution. Nine counties with pollution monitors received a grade of "F" for ozone, up from five last year.

The Lung Association has several recommendations, among them: clean up power plants, strengthen outdated ozone standards and protect the Clean Air Act.

This online tool enables users to check the air quality data in specific areas.

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