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Clean air in Iowa
Date:5/13/2014

With warmer weather, it's time to get outdoors. And now you can breathe easy about it: A new study from the University of Iowa reports Iowa's air quality falls within government guidelines for cleanliness.

The UI researchers analyzed air quality and pollution data compiled by state and county agencies over nearly three years at five sites spread statewideurban areas Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Des Moines and rural locations in Montgomery county in southwest Iowa and Van Buren county in the southeast. The result: The air, as measured by a class of fine particulate pollutants at those locations and based on an annual average, fell within federal cleanliness guidelines.

The study also is the first to examine differences in air quality and pollution sources between urban and rural areas in the Midwest. This is an important distinction, because a higher percentage of the population in the Midwest lives in rural areas, when compared with other regions in the U.S., the researchers note. In Iowa, 44 percent of residents live in the country.

"In general, our air in Iowa is pretty good," says Betsy Stone, assistant professor in chemistry at the UI and lead author of the study, published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts.

The researchers analyzed data gathered from April 2009 to December 2012 from monitors run by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the health departments in Linn and Polk counties. Using that information, the researchers found that fine particle levels during that time span at the urban and rural locations were below the newest yearly-average National Ambient Air Quality Standards, set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stone and Shuvashish Kundu, a former post-doctoral researcher at the UI now at Hokkaido University in Japan and the paper's first author, looked at particulates with an airborne diameter of roughly 2.5 microns. These
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Contact: Richard Lewis
richard-c-lewis@uiowa.edu
319-384-0012
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert  

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