Massachusetts is no honors student when it comes to air quality.
Despite improvements in some counties since last year, the Bay State still earned no better than a “C” grade in this year’s assessment by the American Lung Association.
“Even though there is improvement … those grades are not good enough,” said Jeffrey Seyler, president of the American Lung Association of New England.
The State of Air report was officially released at an event at the State House yesterday during which parents spoke out about their children’s asthma problems and how the air quality impacts the condition.
The association attributes the poor air quality in part to vehicle emissions, coal-fired power plants and even the state’s location.
“Here in Massachusetts we are literally at the end of the country’s tailpipe,” said state Rep. Lori Ehrlich, who founded the energy caucus while attending Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “Pollution doesn’t recognize county lines or state borders.”
Seyler said the jet stream pushes pollution from states west of New England through the region on its way out to sea.
That’s why the association and others are pushing to keep in place the regulations of the Clean Air Act.
“We can all do our part — carpool, ride bikes — but we need our legislators to help clean our air,” Seyler said.
Asthma a concern
Unhealthy air can lead to asthma attacks, the association said.
Also concerned about the poor air grades is Antonia Blinn a mother who lives in Bristol County where the air was given an “F” grade.
Blinn, director at the Massachusetts Association for School-Based Health, spoke about her son’s struggle with asthma. “It interferes with his sleep and play,” she said.
Mass. has one of the highest asthma rates in the U.S.