Lancaster County Ranks 30th Worst in Nation for Short-Term Soot Pollution, Despite Ozone Improvements

Lancaster County, PA ranks 30th worst in the nation for short-term soot pollution, posing significant health risks. Addressing this issue requires a collaborative effort to reduce emissions and improve air quality monitoring.

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Lancaster County Ranks 30th Worst in Nation for Short-Term Soot Pollution, Despite Ozone Improvements

Lancaster County Ranks 30th Worst in Nation for Short-Term Soot Pollution, Despite Ozone Improvements

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has been ranked the 30th worst in the nation for short-term soot pollution, according to the American Lung Association's 2024 State of the Air report. Despite improvements in ozone levels, the county recorded 6.7 days per year of unhealthy air based on soot levels, earning an F rating.

The report indicates that spikes in small airborne particles propelled Lancaster County to this poor ranking. The Harrisburg metro area, which includes Lancaster, is the 37th most polluted in the country for year-round particle pollution, also receiving an F grade. Various sources contribute to fine particle pollution, including incomplete burning, diesel engines, and power plants.

Why this matters: The persistent air quality issues in Lancaster County and the surrounding region have significant implications for public health and the environment. Exposure to high levels of soot pollution can lead to respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, and other health complications, particularly for vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly. Addressing these concerns requires a concerted effort from local authorities, industries, and communities to reduce emissions and improve air quality monitoring.

While ozone levels have improved to their best ever levels in the Lancaster and Harrisburg areas, the American Lung Association is urging the EPA to set stronger national limits on ozone pollution to help drive cleanup of polluting sources across the country. The local Sierra Club is also seeking to improve data collection by installing additional air quality monitors to better understand the sources of pollution in the county.

Key Takeaways

  • Lancaster County, PA ranked 30th worst for short-term soot pollution.
  • Harrisburg metro area 37th most polluted for year-round particle pollution.
  • Soot pollution linked to respiratory, cardiovascular issues, especially for vulnerable.
  • Ozone levels improved, but EPA urged to set stronger national ozone limits.
  • Addressing pollution requires efforts from authorities, industries, and communities.