State air monitors picked up some unhealthy readings in eastern Iowa’s Scott County Wednesday. Brian Button, an air quality specialist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says they were detecting levels that were in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category for about 24 hours, and since then levels have returned back to normal. Button says the Scott County readings were part of a larger phenomenon. He says there were other areas across Iowa where levels were high and he says it was something that was fairly widespread across the upper midwest. Button says the dirty air was caused by “particulate pollution.” He says particulate pollution is fine air-borne aerosols released by the burning of wood, coal and diesel fuels, and various gases can react in the air to form particles. Button says people in risk groups with asthma or a heart condition might’ve had trouble breathing, but it is unlikely many people noticed. He says they typically would have to have been outdoors exercising or taking part in some prolonged physical activity to be impacted by the problem. Button says strong winds today (Thursday) helped push the problem air out of Iowa. He says overall we’ve had a good year when it comes to air problems related to pollution or smog. He says we’re one of roughly a dozen states that’s meeting national air quality standards for out air quality ozone and smog statewide, which he says is a big benefit to residents. For more information on Iowa’s air quality, you can visit the D-N-R’s website at:www.iowadnr.com.
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