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New Castle County flunks American Lung Association's air report card ... again

American Lung Association
Delaware's results in the 2018 State of the Air report.

A new report from the American Lung Association slaps New Castle County with a failing air quality grade for the 19th year in a row.

New Castle County received an “F” for high ozone days in the American Lung Association’s latest State of the Air report that covers data from 2014-2016.


“[New Castle County] is right in the heart of this Great Philadelphia Metro area and is also downwind from a significant metro area - the Baltimore Metro area,” said Kevin Stewart, the American Lung Association Mid-Atlantic’s Director of Environmental Health.


“Not only does New Castle County not have clean air to work with, it also generates it’s own fair share of air pollution, and is part of a metro area that contributes as well,” Stewart said. “That makes ozone a much more difficult chemical to control for in the outdoor air.”


Ozone is a toxic gas that can inflame lung tissue. It poses serious problems to people’s health, Stewart said. 


“In some cases, rarely, people lose their lives. Asthma kills people, heart disease kills people. Because of exposure to air pollution, we know that the risk of dying is higher,” Stewart said.


The county received a “D” in particle pollution in the 2017 report that covered 2013 to 2015, which is an improvement over last year’s report. 


Meanwhile, both Kent and Sussex Counties received “A’s” for particle pollution in this year’s report. Kent scored a “C” for high ozone days, while Sussex County scored a “D”.


Stewart says officials need to be held accountable for air quality worsening over time, but residents can do their part to improve it.


“We ask people to pay attention to making sure their car is properly maintained,” Stewart said. “We want people to drive less, use mass transit when it’s available, carpool, do trip planning so you don’t have to drive so much.”


Stewart adds he’s worried about a proposal to repeal the federal Clean Power Plan. The repeal would relax rules that control carbon pollution that also reduce other pollutants.


The 2018 State of the Air report found ozone pollution has worsened across the United States between 2014-2016, compared to the previous report that covered 2013-2015.

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