In our latest Melon Underground podcast, we chatted with Erik Bjornson about the questionable quality of Tacoma’s air and the legacy of Asarco. The American Lung Association has come out with their 2009 State of the Air Report which basically grades our chance at survival.
How does Tacoma fare? Not great. The Pierce County rating for High Ozone (O3) Days, which is basically a indication of frequency of the three molecule Oxygen compound or smog falls into the C grade (compared to a F in Pierce County). While we’re amongst the average in Ozone, our particle pollution grade is a flat out FAIL. Particle pollution “refers to a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe.” The source of this type of pollution is mechanical and chemical processes (cars and paper mills for example).
While you’re more likely to be immediately affected by Tacoma air pollution if you’re diabetic, A DEVELOPING CHILD, people with heart disease and the elderly here are some of the risk from living in this environment year-round:
- increased hospitalization for asthma attacks for children living near roads with heavy truck or trailer traffic
- slowed lung function growth in children and teenagers
- significant damage to the small airways of the lungs
- increased risk of dying from lung cancer
- increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Compared to the rest of the US, Tacoma doesn’t appear to be that bad. Find out how the rest of the Nation and Washington stacks up and for more explanation about air pollution check out http://www.stateoftheair.org/.
I’m curious how air quality relates to housing prices, so if anyone has similar map with data please say so in the comments.
image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21313845@N04/