By Kyle Syler
Gannon University Student Contributor
The American Lung Association gave Erie County a C in Ozone, A in Particle Pollution 24 hour, and a pass in the annual Particle Pollution in their 2017 report. This represents an improvement over the 2011-2013 Survey, where Erie received an F in Ozone, and a B in Particle Pollution.
What are the Common Air Pollutants and Why Does It Matter?
Ozone and particle pollution are the two main air pollutants of concern to human health. Ozone irritates the lungs, aggravates asthma and lung diseases, and can cause permanent lung damage in children. Ozone levels are often higher during summer in the city since it is formed by a series of reactions that require sunlight and pollutants originating from vehicles and industry.
Particle pollution, especially very small or "fine" particles, may pose a risk to individuals with existing lung or heart diseases and to older individuals. Studies show that exposure to particle pollution increases the likelihood of hospital and emergency room visits in those already vulnerable. Particle pollutants are generated by many different sources including power plants, wood stoves, vehicles, a variety of industries, and forest fires.
What about Pollen and Mold?
Pollen and mold are natural air pollutants that are common triggers for allergy and asthma. Pollen are small cells needed for plants and trees to reproduce and are generated at various times during the year. Tree pollen is often in high levels during the early spring while pollen from weeds is higher in the late summer and early fall. Mold is a type of fungi that releases small cells or spores into the air. Mold spores can trigger allergies and asthma in many individuals. Mold levels increase during the spring and generally reach a peak in the early fall within the northeastern region of the U.S.
Creative Commons Photo by Sid