King County earns mixed grades for air quality

May 2, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 10 a.m. May 2, 2012

King County earned a D grade for smog pollution in the latest air quality report from the American Lung Association, officials at the nonprofit association announced April 25.

The report found smog levels in Washington remained at similar levels as in previous years. King County received the grade for ozone, or smog, the most widespread air pollution.

When inhaled, ozone irritates the lungs, like a bad sunburn. The irritant can cause wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and premature death.

However, for particle pollution, King County earned an A ranking from the American Lung Association. In Washington, particle pollution levels can spike dangerously for hours to days during the winter home heating season.

Read the entire State of the Air 2012 report at

“State of the Air shows that we’re making steady progress in cutting dangerous pollution from the air as a result of cleanup efforts required under the Clean Air Act,” said Renée Klein, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific. “But millions of Americans across the country, including some Washington residents, are still forced to breathe unhealthy levels of air pollution.”

Washington is observing National Air Quality Awareness Week through May 6.

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