American Lung Association Releases Report On Maryland: Baltimore County Has The Worst Air Quality In The State
BALTIMORE COUNTY - Baltimore County has the worst air quality of any jurisdiction in Maryland, according to the American Lung Association's recent report on the state.
The report collected data from 15 of Maryland's 24 counties, focusing on "high ozone days" and particle pollution. According to the report, Baltimore County received an F grade on air quality during high ozone days.
On average, Baltimore County is under a "code orange" warning for 6.7 days annually. The orange warning indicates that the air quality may be harmful to at-risk groups.
Ozone is typically associated with the upper atmosphere and protecting our planet from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light. "High ozone days" refer to when ozone accumulates at ground level. Ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant because of its effects on people and the environment. It is also the main ingredient in "smog," According to the EPA.
Ground-level accumulation happens when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources chemically react in the presence of sunlight.
Anne Arundel, Harford, and Prince George's counties also received F grades for high ozone days but with far fewer average "code orange" warning days per year. Garrett County was the only jurisdiction to receive an A grade.
Baltimore County also tops the list for the worst particle pollution in the state. Baltimore and Cecil Counties, along with Baltimore City, all received B grades for particle pollution rates.
The report also tracks at-risk populations across the jurisdictions. As Maryland's third most populous county, Baltimore County naturally has some of the highest numbers of at-risk residents.
Of the 849,316 people living in Baltimore County, an estimated 151,951 are over 65, the highest proportion of any jurisdiction. Additionally, an estimated 108,237 suffer from COPD or some form of asthma.