East Tennessee Counties Do Poorly in New Air Quality Report

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - The American Lung Association released its "State Of The Air 2007" report, Tuesday, revealing some troubling trends.

Volunteer TV's Jessa Goddard takes a look at how East Tennessee counties scored.

To put it simply, not good.

The high score, a "C", comes from Anderson County, and falls off from there.

Here's how some other area counties did: Blount received a "F", Jefferson County scored a "D," Knox received a "F", and Sevier County got a "D."

The most dangerous pollutant, soot, increased here in Tennessee and other states east of the Mississippi River.

The report finds these high soot levels are linked to an increase in electricity generated by power plants.

The authors say this is particularly troubling because science shows this air is often dangerous to breathe, particularly for those with lung disease.

In Knox County, that equates to 13 percent of the population.

"And we're still getting an "F" in our particulate pollution, which is going to affect our people with health problems, especially our people with lung diseases, cardiovascular disease and those who have diabetes," says American Lung Association Board Member Gwen Valentine.

Not helping matters in East Tennessee, the high volume of truck traffic.

But Tennessee is not alone in seeing a decline in some scores.

In regard to particle pollution levels, the number of "F" grades doubled across the country in just the last year.

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