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Illinois EPA releases air quality report for 2005          Send a link to a friend

Trends still show Illinois' air quality well within established standards

Unusual weather early in 2005 affects data for one pollutant

[FEB. 12, 2007]  SPRINGFIELD -- Air quality in Illinois was either good or moderate 90 percent of the time throughout Illinois in 2005, according to the 35th Annual Air Quality Report, released by the Illinois EPA.

While this is a decrease from the air quality numbers in 2004, it is consistent with the air quality trends the state has experienced in the past. Air quality trends still show air pollution levels well below the standards on a statewide basis.

In 2005, Illinois as well as other Midwestern and Northeastern states experienced one of the most unusual air quality episodes in recent history. For the first time in Illinois, Air Pollution Action Days were called outside of the ozone season, May through September, with three action days being called in February due to elevated levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Scientists determined that a combination of a stagnating regional air mass and combustion of winter fuels region wide was the main cause of this incident.

This unusual episode provided the Illinois EPA with the opportunity to thoroughly discuss fine particulate matter, which led to additional public education about the causes and health concerns of this pollutant.

"While annual trends show the statewide levels of pollutants well below the federal standards, there are still some areas in Illinois where improvement is still needed," said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott. "The Illinois EPA continues its commitment to improve air quality throughout the state and the region."

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The Annual Air Quality Report consists of data collected from a large network of air monitoring equipment throughout the State of Illinois. The Illinois EPA operates and maintains more than 80 air monitoring sites featuring over 200 instruments, which monitor for numerous pollutants, including ozone, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead.

The monitoring network is strategically designed to identify air pollution trends. The data collected are then used to keep the public informed and to identify potential need for change in the Agency's approach to air pollution regulation.

In 2006, the state of Illinois established itself as a national leader in reducing harmful mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants. These deep reductions will help improve the air quality and protect the health of the people of Illinois for generations to come.

The 2005 Annual Air Quality Report is available on the Illinois EPA web site at Printed copies can be requested from the Illinois EPA's Bureau of Air at 217/782-9315.

(Text copied from Illinois Environmental Protection Agency news release received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information)

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