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Delaware Headlines

Mixed results for Delaware in American Lung Association report on air quality

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Delaware Public Media
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The American Lung Association’s 2022 “State of the Air” report reveals mixed results in Delaware.

New Castle and Kent Counties are part of the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden metro area which ranked as the 18th most polluted area in the nation.

The metro area was also the 29th in the nation for most polluted days with high levels of ozone smog.

Sussex County’s metro area was 164th and 75th worst respectively.

Deb Brown - Chief Mission Officer for the American Lung Association - says Delaware has mixed results when it comes to ground ozone levels.

"So when you look at ground level ozone compared to the 2021 report all three Delaware counties experience fewer unhealthy days of high ozone in this year's report,” said Brown. “However, only Kent County's grade improved from a "C" to a "B" Sussex County continued with a "C" grade and New Castle County held on to its "F" grade despite having the best ever report for polluted days."

The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, and Brown says all three counties fared better in that part of the report

"And then when you look at particle pollution all three of the counties in Delaware earned an "A" grade for this measure including New Castle County which received an "A" for the first time ever," said Brown.

Nationally, the report finds that more than 137 million Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution.

The report also gives a first look at air quality trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with the shutdowns in early 2020, there was no obvious improvement.

The full report is available at Lung.org/sota.