Most counties in New Hampshire took home high marks for air quality in this year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association.
Two counties do stand out, however, as lagging behind the rest of the state.
Hillsborough county saw an elevated number of days with high levels of ozone or smog, which is produced primarily by automobile and power plant emissions. The trend generally in Hillsborough county has been toward less smog.
In Cheshire County the problem of particle pollution is actually on the rise. Particulate matter can come from a variety of sources, but the two most prevalent are car tailpipes, and woodstoves and fireplaces.
"It can cause heart attack and stroke as well as asthma attacks. It can increase the risk of low birth-weight in newborns. It shortens life," says Janice Nolen with the Lung Association.
Nolen says, in general, air quality is improving in New Hampshire, primarily because of cleaner burning diesel engines and less use of coal-fired power plants in the Midwest.