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Record Heat Led To More High Ozone Days In Indiana

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Environment, Weather
Air pollution smoke rising from plant tower (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Air pollution smoke rising from plant tower (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Even though Indiana’s air quality is improving, the American Lung Association says climate change is making it harder to protect people’s health. That’s the takeaway from the latest State of the Air report.

The report says the last three years were the hottest on record. That heat combined with car emissions and other pollutants increased ozone levels in many cities — including Indianapolis. Breathing in high levels of ozone can contribute to asthma or even shorten your life.

Nine counties in Indiana received an “F” for ozone, mostly near major cities like Chicago and by coal plants in the southwest part of the state.

Angela Tin is the national senior director of clean air initiatives for the American Lung Association. She says the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back air quality standards would hurt Indiana.

“We need to consistently raise the standards so that there is a noticeable improvement in air quality. A little bit of difference take a lot of work,” Tin says.

To help improve the air, the American Lung Association suggests driving less, using less electricity, and urging Congress to enact climate-friendly policies.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.