Improving air quality in Central New York

Neighbors in Syracuse can breathe a little easier, but may still need to keep an eye on our children.

Last week, the American Lung Association released its â??State of the Airâ?? report. In it, the air quality of locations across the country is graded for ozone and particle pollution.

The report found that Syracuse saw an improvement in air quality with a grade of â??Câ?? for ozone, and an â??Aâ?? for particle pollution for the three year time frame of 2009, 2010, and 2011. Improvements in diesel fuel have contributed to the clean-up.

Michael Seilback of the American Lung Association says, â??I think back in 2008, diesel fuel was required to drastically cleanup. So that the fuel thatâ??s being used by truckers is much cleaner than it was a decade ago.â??

However, that grade of â??Câ?? for ozone caught the attention of Dr. Michael Ianuzzi, Chairman of Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University. He says children are especially susceptible to elevated ozone levels.

â??So, children have asthma much more commonly than adults, although adults also have asthma. Also, children are more likely to be outdoors playing, running, much more active during the heat of the day, when the ozone levels are at their worst," says Dr. Ianuzzi.

So, what should concerned parents do about air quality affecting their children?

â??When the air quality index and the ozone levels get particularly bad, limit the time that the child is outdoors playing. And keep an eye on the temperature; as the days get hotter, and the air pollution and the ozone gets worse, those are the days when less outdoor activity should be planned," says Dr. Iannuzzi.