Report says Rockford area experienced 82 days of polluted air in 2020

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 12:18 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - According to a new report, the Rockford area experienced 82 days of elevated ozone and/or particulate matter in the air in 2020.

The Rockford area is Illinois’ fifth most populous area with more than 334,000 people living in the region. Air pollution increases the risk of premature death, asthma attacks, cancer and other adverse health impacts.

The report, Trouble in the Air: Millions of Americans Breathed Polluted Air in 2020, comes from Environment Illinois Research & Education Center, Frontier Group and the Illinois PIRG Education Fund.

Speaking on behalf of Chicago, which experienced 84 days of polluted air in 2020, “Even one day of breathing in polluted air is dangerous for our health,” said Paloma Paez-Coombe, Associate with Environment Illinois Research & Education Center. “84 days is unacceptable and we need to do more to deliver cleaner air for our communities.”

In the report, researchers reviewed Environmental Protection Agency air pollution records from across the country. The analysis, which looks at the most recent data available, focuses on ground-level ozone and fine particulate pollution, which are harmful pollutants that come primarily from burning fossil fuels such as coal, diesel, gasoline and methane gas, and from wildfires.

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