Organization grades air in county an A

The air quality in Mesa County has improved, according to the American Lung Association.
Mesa County received an A grade for pollution levels on the association’s State of the Air report released today . Last year, Mesa County received a B.

Denver County was the only Colorado county to receive an F grade on particulate pollution levels in this year’s report. Six Colorado counties — all on the Front Range — received an F for high ozone levels, according to the American Lung Association in Colorado.

Ground-level ozone in Mesa County was not part of the Colorado report.

Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides combine with volatile organic compounds in the heat and sunlight. Particulate pollution is made up of fine ash, soot, dust and metals, which can originate in nature or in power plants, according to the lung association.

State air quality data is tracked by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Mesa County Health Department tracks air quality locally.

Michael Brygger, air quality specialist with the Mesa County Health Department, said air quality is difficult to put a letter grade on because air quality changes daily here. However, he said the overall air quality in Mesa County is good.

“Over the entire year, it would probably average out to be good,” Brygger said. “When the air quality is not good” during inversions or dust storms, the duration of those events usually is not longer than a day or so, he added.

People with asthma, emphysema and cardiovascular disease track the air quality and depend on quality air to breathe easier.

Brygger offered two simple tips for people to improve the air quality in Mesa County:

• Make sure automobiles are tuned up and tires are inflated so that vehicles run more efficiently and burn gasoline efficiently. “Automobiles have a large impact on air quality,” he said.
• Upgrade wood stoves to newer models or consider not having wood-burning stoves at all, he said.


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