Report: Air in Charleston Co. growing more unhealthy

Report: Air in Charleston Co. growing more unhealthy
The Ravenel Bridge as seen from Mount Pleasant.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new report out Wednesday from the American Lung Association states that the air around Charleston has grown slightly worse in the past number of years.

In the 20th annual “State of the Air Report” Charleston’s air ranked 147th in the country for quality.

After Charleston’s four straight years among the cleanest in the nation with zero days of ozone pollution, Charleston County recorded more unhealthy days of high ozone.

RELATED: Read the full report here

“South Carolina residents should be aware that we’re breathing unhealthy air, driven by extreme heat as a result of climate change, placing our health and lives at risk,” American Lung Association Director of Advocacy, June Deen said. “In addition to challenges here in South Carolina, the 20th-anniversary ‘State of the Air’ report highlights that more than 4 in 10 Americans are living with unhealthy air, and we’re heading in the wrong direction when it comes to protecting public health.”

The 2019 report covers the most recently collected data available from 2015-2017.

Charleston, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson improved in year-round particle pollution to record its best levels ever, meeting the national standard. Those same cities experienced a slight increase in unhealthy days of high ozone in the 2019 report.

“Ozone especially harms children, older adults and those with asthma and other lung diseases,” Deen said. “When older adults or children with asthma breathe ozone-polluted air, too often they end up in the doctor’s office, the hospital or the emergency room. Ozone can even shorten life itself.”

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