Door County's air quality is improving but the county still gets a failing grade for ozone pollution.
The American Lung Association's State of the Air 2013 report released this week shows Door County is one of seven Wisconsin counties -- all along Lake Michigan -- which received an 'F' grade for levels of ozone (smog) in 2009 through 2011. Kewaunee County managed a 'D.'
But there's been marked improvement since 2000, the year the report was first published. In 2000, Door County had a weighted average of 12.8 and it peaked at 16.7 the following year. Now it stands at 3.7. Kewaunee County's weighted average was 12.5 in 2000, peaking at 15.0 in 2001. It's now down to 2.2.
The weighted average is derived by adding the three years of individual level data (2008-2010), multiplying the sums of each level by the assigned standard weights (i.e. 1=orange, 1.5=red, 2.0=purple and 2.5=maroon) and calculating the average. Grades are assigned based on the weighted averages as follows: A=0.0, B=0.3-0.9, C=1.0-2.0, D=2.1-3.2, F=3.3+.
Ozone is the most widespread air pollutant, created by the reaction of sunlight on emissions from vehicles and other sources. When ozone is inhaled, it irritates the lungs, like a bad sunburn. It can cause immediate health problems that continue days later. Ozone can cause wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and premature death.