Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Millions Of New Yorkers Live In Counties With Failing Air Quality

American Lung Association

Nearly nine million New Yorkers live in counties with failing air quality.  That includes Monroe and other counties with worsening ozone levels.

The American Lung Association has released its State of the Air 2014, and it shows most counties maintained year-round levels of particle pollution, or soot, 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.

There was insufficient data to determine a grade for annual particle pollution in Monroe County

It received a "B" for short-term (particle) pollution, and a "B" for ozone, down from an "A" last year.

The Lung Association has several recommendations, among them: clean up power plants, strengthen outdated ozone standards and protect the Clean Air Act. 

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-FM 105.9/AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.