PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that Rhode Island had good air quality this summer, however the American Lung Association (ALA) said we still can’t let our guard down.
Rhode Island didn’t see a lot of hot and hazy days this year, and when it comes to the ozone – the state had zero Air Quality Alert days.
“The trend is on the way down for the last few years, and it’s very good news for New England overall,” said Karina Holyoak Wood from ALA of Rhode Island.
Since hot summer days can cook up high levels of ozone, the cooler weather this summer likely played a role in the good air quality. By contrast, Rhode Island had seven Air Quality Alert days during the scorching summer of 2013.
Wood said weather aside, we’re also being more careful about cutting back on car and power plant emissions.
“We’ve got much healthier air now as a result of many years of hard work by the EPA and the Clean Air Act,” she explained.
However, she still feels there’s room for improvement.
“The American Lung Association would say that there is more to this story, in that we also need to bear in mind that standards are not as high as we think they should be.”
Right now, it takes at least 75 parts per million of ozone to be considered a poor air quality day, but the ALA would like to see that dropped between 60 and 65 parts per million. When you get just above those levels, Wood said children with asthma and others at high risk can experience both long and short term ill effects.
“On the short term, it can trigger asthma attacks, COPD. People can be hospitalized for asthma attacks and COPD,” she added.
The EPA report revealed that Massachusetts had zero Air Quality Alert days this summer as well.