Annual Air Quality Report Shows Poor Grades for Tallahassee Area

By: American Lung Association Release
By: American Lung Association Release

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – (April 27, 2011)

People in Leon and Wakulla Counties continue to breathe dangerous levels of air pollution, despite positive nationwide trends toward cleaner air, according to the American Lung Association’s annual report on air quality, State of the Air 2011, released today.

Highlights for the Tallahassee area in the State of the Air 2011 include the following:

Leon County received a “C” in ozone pollution, a “C” in short-term particle pollution and tied for fourth most polluted county in Florida for short-term particle pollution
Wakulla County received a “C” for ozone pollution
This year’s report showed that the Tallahassee area’s air quality remained at unhealthy levels, despite many cities across the nation seeing improvements in levels of ozone (smog) or year-round particle pollution (soot). Leon and Wakulla Counties’ best opportunity for progress depends on the continued cleanup of deadly pollution required by the Clean Air Act.

“It is imperative that we continue to strengthen the Clean Air Act in order to address the dangerous levels of smog and particle pollution that threaten Tallahassee and other communities across the state,” said Martha Bogdan, president and CEO of the American Lung Association in Florida. “The American Lung Association is committed to fighting for healthier air and to finding ways to clean up air pollution so every Floridian can breathe easier.”

The air quality report also reveals that just over half the nation—154.5 million people—lives in areas where levels of ozone and/or particle pollution are too often dangerous to breathe. Even though so many people live where bad air can make them sick, some members of Congress are proposing changes to the Clean Air Act that would interfere with efforts to reduce air pollution and protect public health. The American Lung Association released a bipartisan poll in February that showed Americans overwhelmingly support efforts for even tougher air quality standards and oppose Congressional action that interferes with the EPA’s ability to update clean air standards.

The State of the Air 2011 report grades cities and counties based, in part, on the color-coded Air Quality Index developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help alert the public to daily unhealthy air conditions. The 12th annual release of the Lung Association’s report uses the most recent EPA data collected from 2007 through 2009 from official monitors for ozone and particle pollution, the two most widespread types of air pollution. Ozone is the most widespread air pollutant, created by the reaction of sunlight on emissions from vehicles and other sources while particle pollution is a mix of chemicals, metals, acid aerosols, ash, soot and others pollutants from diesel exhaust and other sources.

“This report is a reminder that there is always more we can do to improve the air we breathe and both counties have a clear opportunity to raise their air pollution grades next year,” said Bogdan.

The American Lung Association in Florida urges the public to voice support for the EPA to continue protecting the air in every community by visiting and to learn how their communities rank in State of the Air 2011 by visiting For the first time in the report’s history, people can compare findings for different metropolitan areas online.

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  • by Robert Location: 32303 on May 4, 2011 at 09:14 AM
    I remember when there were no vapour trails from jet traffic in the sky. The sky was blue then. I sent photos to New York for color correction work and they never got the blue right because they had never seen a really blue sky! No wonder we can not understand a government that has self-intersest. I remember when the geese flying south meant winter coming, Hartsfield in ATL interrupted their flight patterns and clean water. Do you remember Shelby the Mustang Ford expert coming up with a carburetor that would deliver 40/mpg? So you wanna buy a hybrid? Who you buy it from? ha ha!
  • by Robert Location: 32303 on May 4, 2011 at 08:13 AM
    Plantation owners do the annual burn and I have to stay inside. They just pay the fine and go on with business, even as Red Hills horse competion supported by city/county funds - boys love to play with fire. They are not the only source of course. When you can't breathe you can't breathe. All our bad air is not locally-generated. There are days I can smell sulphur from Pt. St. Joe or Perry, etc. Denver is so bad as to have fans to blow it out of the valley - but to where? The real news is who sleeps with whom in politics.
  • by Robert Location: 32303 on May 4, 2011 at 08:03 AM
    God gave mankind dominion over the earth, the beasts of the field, the birds of the air. Jesus kicked the money-lenders out of the temple, but we settle for instant gratification rather than the long course. You get what you vote for.
  • by Robert Location: 32303 on May 4, 2011 at 07:58 AM
    Used to say it began at local level. No longer true. We gave up the micro- in favor of the macro - so that we recapitulate history. Rome burned did it not? Profit taking rules every time. Need to teach Marxism and Leninism, Communism, etc again in schools to see that if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. Krushchev said we will bury you with capitalism. He was an idiot but Whoa what did he say? Money over love of God, Family, country. My heroes are dead - Vets, parents, family, yet M taxed on retirement etc to the point I can hardly leave my house. Double taxation without representation as in the bill of rights. Point being we've left God out of the formula in favor of personal, immediate gradification. Look at 'Drive-thru' or Disney. I'm dying and nothing to show for working since I was about 5. 100 years from now it won't matter because I know God will have his way over city, state, nation. Did not Jesus throw the money-lenders out of the temple?
  • by ETurnage Location: Tallahassee on May 2, 2011 at 12:08 AM
    What more can you expect. With all of the hot air generated by the state and local politicians we should look like the Sahara. Bleached bones, sand, and thanks to our reps, pile upon pile of bull manure...
  • by Far side on Apr 28, 2011 at 07:24 AM
    Not to mention all the poots they are emitted every day by all the Tallahasseans!!!
    • reply
      by Robert on May 4, 2011 at 09:16 AM in reply to Far side
      Quantitative, not qualitative. Thanks
  • by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2011 at 05:20 PM
    Are these air quality measurements taken during the period of permitted control burns in the local pine forests not forgetting to add that alot of timber harvested areas are raked into huge piles and the waste growth is burned for days on end to clear the area for replanting of new pine seedlings. How much soot & ozone comes from diesel pumps that run up to 36 hours to irrigate one field?
  • by Foxgloves on Apr 27, 2011 at 02:41 PM
    On the west side of the county, you should see the city electric (natural gas) Hopkins power plant spewing clouds and clouds of white stuff from the smoke stacks when the atmospheric conditions are just right, to see just how bad it is. Good for the lungs and trying to breathe!! But since that is the city of Tallahassee, it gets a pass. Additionally, it seems many of the homeowners within a 5 mile radius are not happy unless they are burning leaves, insulation off electrical wiring to resell, plastics and a host of other things that makes your eyes burn, and your nose sting, just trying to breathe. Still worse, tree services haul all their tree cuttings home, and light it up and let it burn all night, and no one ever does anything about it. Those in charge and drawing a salary off the taxpayers turn a blind eye. Some homeowners will light the yard up and burn all the leaves and trash right up to the paved road. They are just not happy if they are not burning something, and it is a daily thing. Fire department and state fire departments do nothing. As usual sorry people in government turn a blind eye and it goes on and has for more than 20 years. Soot and ashes and heavy smoke smell permeates the air daily. Live ash falls 1/2 mile away from the burning, and someday, it is going to spark a home or the forest, and then those being paid to do nothing will be astonished, as to how it happened. If you already have breathing problems, it is almost impossible to breathe out there.
    • reply
      by RetiredMarine on May 2, 2011 at 12:12 AM in reply to Foxgloves
      Believe it or not, the majority of what you see coming from the Hopkins plant is nothing more than steam. Most of our pollution is generated at the intersection of Appalachee Pkwy. and S. Monroe St....
  • by dog Location: gone on Apr 27, 2011 at 01:12 PM
    Cut down all the trees, ride your bike, stop smoking WEED, no control burning, Happy now ?
  • by Lisa Location: Tallahassee on Apr 27, 2011 at 01:12 PM
    The solution to this and the gas prices are hybrid and electric cars. Little to no money spent on gas and little to no air pollution. (BTW--the Prius runs about $23,000, so don't say it's not affordable.)
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2011 at 05:19 PM in reply to Lisa
      $23,000 is not affordable to me. That's a $380 a month car payment if you get 0% interest.
      • reply
        by Far side on Apr 28, 2011 at 07:27 AM in reply to
        $380.00 a month is a cell phone and cable bill and a couple of mixed drinks a day. It's about priorities. Moving into the future may provide a future for the children left behind us. About $12.00 a day for a Hydrid, although they are not that much better than a regular car.
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