This article ran in the Fall 2021 issue of Hourglass Quarterly. View the full publication here.
According to a new report from the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center and the Frontier Group, Lancaster County saw 107 days of elevated levels of ozone or particulate pollution in our air in 2020.
Air pollution harms our health, even at low levels. According to the report, “exposure to ozone and particulate pollution has been linked to premature death; damage to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems; worsened mental health and neural functioning; problems with fertility, conception, pregnancy and birth; increased risk of many types of cancer; and harm to children.” It can also increase the risk of infectious diseases by weakening immune systems and helping pathogens spread. Lancaster County’s air quality is ranked 15th worst in the country by the American Lung Association, although it is improving. According to the EPA, in 2020 70% of days in Lancaster were healthy air days, slightly above 64% in 2000. The year with the fewest healthy air days was 2014, at 34%.