(WHTM) — A new analysis from The Guardian claims the Midstate is a major hotspot for air pollution. Experts say the air quality in central Pennsylvania has never been the best. But now more recent studies are proving that our area may be more polluted than we think.
A new analysis from The Guardian claims that the Midstate is number eight on the list of hotspots for air pollution in the US.
The study notes that this is rare because, usually, epicenters for air pollution are in big cities. However, there are many factors that make Midstate unique.
“Since we are at a very major crossroads with various national highways running through the area, that is definitely a factor for that when it comes into the particulate matter that’s in our area,” Professor of Earth System Science at Harrisburg University Michael Meyer said.
Agriculture also plays a role.
“A lot of farming aerosols from like manure or waste disposal, those are also within our area,” Meyer said.
Unlike other areas with high pollution levels, particles in the Midstate are scattered.
“It is fairly dispersed so you don’t need to move very far out of any sort of urban area to suddenly see a lot of those effects diminish very quickly,” Meyer said.
However, experts say air quality is still a concern.
“When you breathe in the particle matter, your lung defense mechanism cannot sense it and it causes inflammation, ” Lung and ICU Doctor for UPMC Dr. Akshay Avula said.
That can also cause blockages in your bloodstream, which can lead to a potential heart attack. Less severe conditions, like asthma, are also possible
“I’ve seen a lot of severe asthma in this area,” Avula said.
Experts emphasize those most prone to problems with air quality are children, pregnant women, and the elderly. But no matter the risk there are things you can do to protect yourself.
“If it is poor, try not to go out, or if you have to, wear a mask. Dr. Avula said.” Air pollution is definitely an invisible enemy you should be weary of.”
Current air quality information for the Midstate can be found by typing your zip code into https://www.airnow.gov