New Study Ranks Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky Among the Worst Air Polluters
With the number of factories and manufacturing we have in the Tri-State area, I don't think it's a shock to anyone living here that the air we breathe day in and day out isn't the cleanest. What may be a surprise is that according to one study, it's the dirtiest in all of America.
AOL.com shared a study last week from the health and wellness website, HealthGrove.com that ranked all 50 states based on the number of pollution particles in the air. PM2.5 particle to be exact. A fine pollutant with "a diameter of 2.5 micrometers" with the "ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream."
Citing a report by The Lancet, HealthGrove reports "that for every 10 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) increase of PM2.5 particles, lung cancer incidences increased by 36 percent."
The results of each state also lists the number of cancer and heart disease deaths for every 100,000 people.
To be fair, the fine particulate matter data HealthGrove collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was from 2003 to 2011, making the most recent data nearly five years old at this point. Whether government regulations enacted on reducing emissions have had any impact since then is unknown at this point.
To make matters worse, not only do the three states in our are immediate area rank in the top 10 (two of which are the top three), the worst offending portions of each state are the ones we sit in.
The least offensive of the three is Illinois, which comes in at number nine. Notice in the graphic below that Hardin, Gallatin, White, Edwards, and Wabash are among the worst offenders in the entire state.
According to the stats, the entire state averages 13.38 PM2.5 particles, while 190.1 people died of cancer and 192.8 died of heart disease.
Clocking in at number three is the Bluegrass State. Again, you'll notice in the graphic the counties contributing the majority of pollutants are right in our backyard with Webster County being the worst offender, with Union and Henderson Counties a close second and third, respectively. Daviess County isn't too far behind, finishing in the top 10.
The stats provide an average of 14.1 PM2.5 particles, with a whopping 229.4 people dying of cancer and 226.9 dying of heart disease.
That brings us to the great state of Indiana. My home state. Where the majority of pollution takes place where I'm sitting (figuratively, not literally). By the looks of the graphic below, it almost looks like all the pollution funnels down from the top and central parts of the state into the tip of the boot where Evansville, Mt. Vernon, Newburgh, and other sit.
While the average number of PM2.5 particles is obviously the highest of all three states, I was surprised to see the number deaths by cancer (201.8) and heart disease (209.6) lower than those of our neighbors south of the Ohio River. One would think that if we're more polluted, that would translate to a higher death rate in both those categories, although that's clearly not the case.
It should be noted, the study doesn't list factories as the sole source of pollutants. Other possible sources include motor vehicles, power plants, wood burning and other industrial processes.
So next time you decide to step outside for a breath of fresh air, keep in mind that air may not be a fresh as you think.