A new report by the American Lung Association finds that the St. Louis metro area still
has high levels of ozone pollution, the main ingredient in smog.
The annual State of the Air report ranked St. Louis 13th out of 217 metro areas in the country for ozone pollution. That’s worse than St. Louis performed in last year’s report, although the trend over recent decades has been gradual improvement.
Ozone is a powerful lung irritant, especially for the elderly, children, or those with lung conditions like asthma. It’s formed when high temperatures and sunlight combine with combustion emissions from things like cars and trucks. That means summer is the season that ozone levels typically rise to problematic levels.
ALA spokeswoman Susannah Fuch says over time, scientists are learning more about the ill effects of air pollution on people’s health.
‘It means we just have to keep doing what we can, doing the things that are harder, and remembering that not only does this have a huge effect on people’s health—those people you know and love—but it also has a huge impact on health care costs,” said Fuchs.
Fuchs says individual actions like telecommuting and conserving electricity can help during the summer months. She also encourages citizens to push for stronger clean air standards.