On the Radio: Smog creates health risks for Iowans

Smog over Chicago. Photo by Chronographia von Strangehours, Flickr

Listen to this week’s radio segment here.  It discusses the negative impact that smog has on Iowa and the rest of the Midwest.

Emphysema, bronchitis and asthma – those are just a few conditions that can be caused or worsened by smog, a form of pollution we usually associate with coastal states.

But there’s plenty of smog here in Iowa – enough to damage our health.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Smog forms when nitrogen oxide, produced in large quantities by power plants and cars, reacts with sunlight and volatile compounds in the air. This pollution, which grows worse in the summer heat, strains the heart and makes it harder for people – especially children and the elderly – to breathe.

Iowa ranks in the top half of the nation’s smog producers, according to a report by Environment America.

That’s largely because of its continued reliance on dirty energy sources like coal.

In 2009, one power plant in Sergeant Bluff emitted over 8,000 tons of smog-forming pollution– a large chunk of the more than 40,000 tons produced across the state.

Smog can also destroy wildlife habitats and decrease certain crop yields.

By investing more in cleaner energy, we can help protect the health of Iowa’s environment and its people.

For more information, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

I’m Jerry Schnoor from the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Thank You.

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