Air quality report shows problems

Wildfires and wood stoves contributed to an "F" rating for Jackson County's short-term particle pollution levels in the American Lung Association's annual "State of the Air" report, but there's some good news in there, too.

The county also received a "B" for smog levels and a "pass" for annual particle pollution. The report, released Wednesday, reflected data collected from 2007-2009.

Jackson was one of four Oregon counties to receive the lowest grade for short-term particle pollution, alongside Klamath, Lake and Lane counties. This measurement is based on spikes in fine particulate matter, or particles from aerosols, smoke, dust and allergens, during a 24-hour cycle.

There were 12 days in the study where Jackson County levels reached an orange level of severity, meaning the air quality was unhealthy for asthmatics and other individuals sensitive to poor air quality. It never reached red or purple levels, which reflect unhealthy air quality for all.

According to the report, 19,640 people in Jackson County, around 9 percent of the total population, suffer from asthma.

— Ryan Pfeil

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