New Castle News

Closer Look

May 1, 2014

Report pans air quality in New Castle

NEW CASTLE — New Castle was again prominently mentioned in an annual air quality report by the American Lung Association.

And not in a good way.

The region dubbed Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton — representing the tri-state region of southwestern Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio and West Virginia — ranked 21st for ozone in the lung association’s 2014 State of the Air report. This means that out of 277 metropolitan areas listed by the organization, this region’s was the 21st worst in ozone levels.

The same report lists the region as sixth worst for 24-hour particle pollution and annual particle pollution. The findings were officially released Wednesday by the lung association.

New Castle is listed as part of the metropolitan area not because its air quality is worse than other communities in the region, but as a means of describing the territory covered. In the past, Weirton was not included in the name of the metropolitan area, but it has been added.

Locally, the State of the Air report gives Lawrence County a “D” grade for ozone levels. The report cites some improvement in the area quality of the county, stating it had six fewer high ozone days in the past year compared to 1996 levels.

For the overall region, particle pollution dropped to its lowest levels since these annual reports began 15 years ago.

No particle pollution data was available for Lawrence County, because there are no official monitoring stations here.

More information on the report and how the American Lung Association gauges impacts on health, while recommending steps people can take to protect themselves, is available at www.lung.org.

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