Air Quality

Mountain Air: Youth Help Identify Causes Of Ohio Valley’s High Lung Disease Rates

Dec 9, 2019
Participants documented many exposures to cigarette smoke. Kentucky and West Virginia have the nation’s highest smoking rates.
Photo courtesy of the Mountain Air Project

Isabella Back, 18, pulls her jacket tight around herself as she crosses the gravel driveway. “So we’re going about 10 feet from my house to my dad’s workshop,” she says, and pushes through a door in a big, red barn.

The Kona, Kentucky, shop is crowded with cluttered work tables and hulking machines, and the sound of whirring and grinding fills the air. The shop smells of paint and other chemicals. Back’s dad, Rod, started this metal fabrication shop after he got laid off from coal mining. He mostly makes signs for local businesses. He waves a friendly hello.

A boy protests the Rockwool company with his family on Aug. 2, 2018 in Charles Town, W.Va.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This summer will mark one year since thousands of residents in Jefferson County, West Virginia started a movement to rally against a Denmark-based company called Rockwool. The company’s proposed West Virginia plant would manufacture stone wool insulation across the street from an elementary school. The issue has sparked contention throughout the region. The voices from those against Rockwool have grown louder, but so too have those who do want Rockwool in West Virginia.

Clinical Associate Professor Michael McCawley of the West Virginia University School of Public Health moderated the symposium on air pollution at the Clarion Inn in Harpers Ferry. Photo taken Sat., Apr. 27, 2019.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community members from Jefferson County, West Virginia and nearby areas came together last weekend to hear from scientific experts from around the country about air pollution and its impacts. The event’s aim was to speak “plainly” about the issue, specifically as it pertains to Rockwool – a stone wool manufacturing company setting up shop in Jefferson County.

Health, doctor, nurse, mask, breathing
Dollar Photo Club

Air quality across West Virginia is improving, with levels of fine particle air pollution some of the best ever measured, but smog levels have increased, according to the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released today.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

If you live near a mining site – either old or active - is your health at risk? That’s what a committee from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine is trying to find out.

 

The Harvard School of Public Health together with Syracuse University released a study of potential air quality benefits based on the first-of-their-kind carbon dioxide emissions reduction proposal the Environmental Protection Agency revealed this month. According to researchers, West Virginia is among the state's to benefit most from the proposed rules.


Wikimedia Commons

A report just released by American Lung Association, “State of the Air 2014,” shows air pollution in West Virginia’s metropolitan areas has generally improved but, there’s more ozone, or smog, in every county where it was measured.