Oregonians are breathing in soot
Oregonians are breathing in more than soot than they should be. According to the American Lung Association's State of the Air report this year, Oregon has mixed grades for air quality.
Particle pollution, or soot, is the main problem with Oregon's air, and can be harmful to human health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, particle pollution means there are tiny solid or liquid particles in the air, and can be caused by primary or secondary sources. Primary sources of particle pollution cause the pollution themselves, such as ash from fires. Secondary sources come from fumes or gases that can create particulate matter – like power plants.
"Federal and state policies like the Clean Air Act are working," said Carrie Nyssen, Vice President of Advocacy and Air Quality for the American Lung Association in Oregon. "We can improve air quality, but the impacts of climate change are interfering with progress."
Breathed in, particle pollution can cause lung problems or irritate eyes, nose, or throat. According to the American Lung Association, this type of pollution can increase risk of premature death, lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.
"Across the nation, the report found continued improvement in air quality, but still," said Nyssen, "more than four in 10 Americans – 133.9 million – live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution, where their health is at risk."
The American Lung Association says there is more that can be done to improve air quality in Oregon, and is urging politicians to fight for the Clean Air Act, as the Trump administration works to lessen regulations protecting air quality standards.
Key Report Findings:
-The Bend-Redmond-Pineville area is tied for the 26th most-polluted area, an improvement over last year for short-term particle pollution.
-The Medford-Grants Pass area is tied for the 50th most-polluted area for year-round particles, an improvement. It's tied for 34th for the most-polluted area for short-term particle pollution.
-The Portland-Vancouver-Salem area is tied for the 32nd most-polluted area for short-term particle pollution, the same rank as last year with a slight improvement in overall unhealthy days.