December 14, 2005

Who needs hog factories? QC Air already pretty polluted

The countryside northeast of Blue Grass, Iowa, is nearly empty, dotted only by a few farm houses. It looks unassuming, but the Environmental Protection Agency ranks this area, just east of 90th Avenue and 145th Street, fourth in the nation in terms of potential health risks from industrial air pollution.
Risk scores in census tracts within the metro Quad-Cities vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city, but all are among the highest 5 percent in the country.
The census tract that includes the Rock Island Arsenal has a score 35.9 times the national median, the worst in Rock Island County.

Scott County ranked eighth worst of the country's 3,141 counties. Neighboring Muscatine County ranked third worst.

Across the river, Rock Island County ranked 96th worst, and Henry and Mercer counties were 532 and 428, respectively. Whiteside County's score was the 10th worst in the nation.
The article goes on with some happy talk from a Bi-State Regional Commission planning spokesbot highlighting a couple inconsequential measures some companies have taken to reduce the pollution they spew, and notes the correlation between unhealthy air, particularly leaf burning, and the incidence of asthma and other respiratory disease.


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