Chicago gets failing grade for ozone air pollution from American Lung Association

Thursday, April 21, 2022
Chicago gets failing grade for air pollution from American Lung Association
The American Lung Association gave Chicago and surrounding suburbs an "F" grade for ozone pollution and low marks for particle pollution as well.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new report from the American Lung Association gives the Chicago area a failing grade when it comes to some types of air pollution. Officials from the organization said the city ranks in their top 25 most polluted cities.

The ALA notes two types of air pollution: ozone pollution, which is known as smog, and particle pollution, which is soot in the air.

Chicago is the 16th most polluted city in the nation when it comes to ozone pollution.

"Chicago is also a major transportation hub. We have a lot of road traffic, truck traffic that goes through the city that adds to the ozone levels," said Kristina Hamilton, Illinois Advocacy Director for the ALA.

When you breathe in ozone, or smog, it irritates and inflames your airways. The ALA compares it to getting a bad sunburn of your lungs.

Chicago ranks 22nd in the nation for particle pollution, or soot. The particles you breathe in can lodge deep in your lungs.

"It is considered a cause of lung cancer, and can also be very dangerous to people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes," Hamilton said.

Cook and its surrounding counties also struggle with ozone pollution, but do get better grades from the ALA for particle pollution.