The American Lung Association’s annual report on air quality around the nation finds some trouble spots in Iowa. Robert Moffitt with the association’s Upper Midwest division says monitoring stations around Iowa are maintained by the state. They collect data for the environmental Protection Agency, and the Lung Association study uses the EPA data.
To make sure they’re not getting a one-time anomaly in the readings, they use several years worth of the gathered information, so this year’s report includes data from the year 2003 through 2005. They look at "ground ozone," which is a major component of smog, and also at particulates, fine sooty particles that can be very harmful to lung health if they’re breathed in.
This time of year farmers are eagerly waiting for the wet ground to dry enough that they can get plows and planters into the field, but the dust they stir up has been blamed for contributing to poor air-quality measurements. That’s the reason Iowa ends up with a lot of "F" ratings for particulates in rural counties. Moffitt says while it might be a little is leading it point up the fact that pollution can come in from other sources.
Wind brings big-city soot to rural parts of the state and he says nobody’s immune to the risk of pollution. The parts of Iowa that measured high in pollutants in this year’s report included Scott, Linn, Polk, Clinton and Muscatine Counties.