Area makes lung group’s pollution list

The metropolitan area including Macon, Warner Robins and Fort Valley again made the American Lung Association’s list of areas in America with the most year-round particle pollution.

These tiny particles can be breathed deep into the lungs, causing breathing and heart problems.

But Middle Georgia’s ranking on the list improved from 14th worst to 19th. That made it one of the 16 metro areas in the United States that experienced their lowest ever levels of year-round fine particle pollution.

Elsewhere in Georgia, Augusta-Richmond County for the first time received a passing grade in the report for improvements in its year-round particle pollution levels. That’s based on the current federal standard for safe levels, which the federal Environmental Protection Agency is considering strengthening. The EPA will propose a new, possibly tougher standard by November.

This year’s results showed that air quality improvements are happening nationwide as a result of cleaning up major sources of air pollution, the American Lung Association concluded in its report, which was released Wednesday.