Monday, May 20, 2019

Memphis Gets an "F" on Smog

Posted By on Mon, May 20, 2019 at 9:59 AM

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Memphis scored an F on smog from the American Lung Association (ALA), but the city made some air-quality improvements.

Each year the ALA’s “State of the Air” report gives the nation’s biggest report card on its air quality. It gives grades in two key areas — ozone (smog) and particle pollution.

The grades are new but the information isn't current. The data used for the report is the most recently issued from government agencies. So, the 2019 report looks back to 2015-2017.

Memphis got an F for ozone pollution and the city had more unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report.
“Ozone especially harms children, older adults and those with asthma and other lung diseases,” said Carol Ziegler, a nurse practitioner and Lung Association spokesperson. “When older adults or children with asthma breathe ozone-polluted air, too often they end up in the doctor’s office, the hospital or the emergency room. Ozone can even shorten life itself.”

click to enlarge AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION
  • American Lung Association

But Memphis got an A in particle pollution, which is soot or tiny particles that come from coal-fired power plants, diesel emissions, wildfires, and wood-burning devices. It’s in this area that Memphis made some major improvements and was among some of the cleanest cities in the country for particle pollution, according to the ALA’s report. But there’s more work to be done.

“Tennessee residents should be aware that in some places we’re breathing unhealthy air, placing our health and lives at risk,” said Gail Frost, executive director of the Lung Association in Tennessee. “In addition to challenges here in places like Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga, the ‘State of the Air’ report highlights that more than four in 10 Americans are living with unhealthy air, and we’re heading in the wrong direction when it comes to protecting public health.”

Shelby County was the only Tennessee county to get an F grade this year. However, Shelby is one of only 10 counties out of Tennessee's 95 counties that issues air-quality metrics to the ALA.

Read the full report here:

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