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Great Lakes Article:

Air quality gets failing grade in eastern Wisconsin
Statewire
 
Published May 8, 2002

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Pollution blown north from Chicago and Gary, Ind., is still contributing to poor air quality in eastern and southern Wisconsin, a new report says.

According to the report today from the American Lung Association, 11 counties merit a grade of " F" for air quality.

The failing grades went to Door, Jefferson, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sheboygan and Walworth counties.

Eight of those counties are at the eastern edge of the state, on the shore of Lake Michigan, where wind patterns push industrial pollution from the Chicago area, said Jenny Rohde, association spokeswoman.

Those counties also add to the pollution as it travels up the Lake Michigan coast, she said.

" It all ends up in areas like poor Door County, because of weather patterns, " Rohde said.

The lung association used ozone monitors in select counties to grade air quality based on the number of days with ozone levels in unhealthy ranges. The report, the association' s third, is for the years 1998 to 2000.

Ozone is a colorless, odorless gas formed when certain pollutants such as tailpipe and power plant emissions mix with heat and sunlight. Ozone' s health effects are believed to be most dangerous to children 14 and younger, adults 65 and older and people with asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

" Air quality doesn' t have any boundaries, " Rohde said. " We need everybody to clean up their air pollution so everyone can breathe easier."

Waukesha County received a " D" this year, a slight improvement over last year' s failing grade.

Among the Wisconsin counties monitored, only St. Croix County near the Twin Cities in the northwest received an " A" for good air quality.

Dane County received a grade of " C" for the third consecutive year.

Topf Wells, chief of staff to Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, said the county should provide more reliable and convenient transportation alternatives, so that the growing population will rely less on individual vehicles that pollute the air with their emissions.

On the Internet:

American Lung Association: http://www.lungusa.org/

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