SB County’s Ozone Worst In Nation

(May 6) San Bernardino County has garnered the dubious distinction of being the most ozone-saturated locale in the entire country.
According to the American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2015” San Bernardino County leads all other counties in the United States in exposing its residents to ozone. Also, according to the American Lung Association report, which relies upon air quality monitoring nationwide during the 2011 to 2013 time frame, the county was the 16th worst in the country in terms of constant particle pollution.
San Bernardino County, the lower portion of which is poised at the far east end of the Los Angeles basin and subject to an accompanying inversion layer that traps the exhaust from millions of cars and the emissions from industrial smokestacks in the troposphere which hovers above it, has long suffered from poor air quality. But with the shuttering of a number of regional polluters such as Fontana’s Kaiser Steel and efforts by both the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District over the last several decades, air pollution has lessened in the region.
Indeed, according to the American Lung Association, the condition of San Bernardino County’s air has improved generally to what is considered middle level quality. Paradoxically, however, the county’s air represents a serious hazard to at-risk groups such as those with asthma, emphysema, heart or pulmonary problems or diabetes or those living proximate to air pollution sources.
In its report card from the American Lung Association, San Bernardino County was given an F for 117.7 high-ozone days, a D for 2.8 high-particle pollution days across 24 hours and another F for 12.6 days a year of high-particle pollution.
Those most seriously impacted by the county’s bad air are the 578,417 of the county’s 2.08 million people who are under the age of 18 whose tender pink lungs are vulnerable to the particulates and noxious chemicals contained therein, the 208,565 older than 65; the 51,241 with childhood asthma; the 131,342 with adult asthma; the 66,473 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; the 94,315 with cardiovascular disease; the 144,112 with diabetes and the 392,242 living in poverty.
There was some positive news in the report. Air quality in the county’s Mojave Desert communities is improving.
Throughout the country, according to the American Lung Association report, progress is being made in cleaning the air in accordance with the goals and restrictions of the Clean Air Act passed under the Richard Nixon Administration in 1970. The American Lung Association said further efforts to safeguard the air were called for, such as strengthening “outdated” ozone standards and adopting a strong final Clean Power Plan.

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