In 1970, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, giving the federal government authority to clean up air pollution in this county. Breathing polluted air can make a person’s eyes and nose burn. It can cause throat irritation and make breathing difficult. Pollutants such as tiny airborne particles and ground-level ozone can trigger respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma. Air pollution can also aggravate health problems for the elderly and others with heart or respiratory diseases.
Air pollution isn’t just a threat to our health, it also damages our environment. Toxic air pollutants and the chemicals that form acid rain and ground-level ozone can damage trees, crops, wildlife, lakes, and other bodies of water. These pollutants can also harm fish and other aquatic life. The health, environmental, and economic impacts of air pollution are significant. Each day, air pollution causes thousands of illnesses leading to lost days at work and school. Air pollution also reduces agricultural crop and commercial forest yields by billions of dollars each year.
What are we measuring?
Air quality monitoring data.
There are two air quality monitoring stations in Thurston County monitoring ozone and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5). The region’s air quality has continued to meet air quality standards over the last decade.
The Clean Air Act identifies two types of national ambient air quality standards. Primary standards provide public health protection, including protecting the health of sensitive populations such as people with asthma, children, and the elderly. Secondary standards provide public welfare protection, including protection against decreased visibility and damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings.