New air quality standards mean trouble for Chattanooga
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The Chattanooga Allergy Clinic is preparing for a very busy time of year.
The office is full of people battling allergies and Chattanooga is considered one of the worse places in the US for them.
"It is just terrible, we live in a bowl with all types of trees and plant life and it all just sits here," Dr. Todd Levin explained.
The news doesn't get any better according to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control.
Air Quality Manager Kathy Jones said the Environmental Protection Agency will soon tighten air quality standards and that could mean trouble for Chattanooga.
"They are lowering the standards again, especially for ozone. We will not meet the new ozone standard," Jones said.
For the past few years, Hamilton County has met the standards, but certain events can throw off ozone levels.
Jones says Tuesday's fire off Interstate 24 and a tire fire from Wednesday in Bradley County, both burned long enough to significantly change pollutant levels.
This can be a headache for those nearby with breathing problems.
"Anything that can trigger or increase the inflammation will worsen the asthma," Dr. Levin said.
Not to mention weather plays a big factor.
Jones said the Tennessee Valley weather patterns can be blamed for many of our air quality issues as well.
"We have such static weather patterns and temperature changes it causes everything to sit down low," said Dr. Levin.
The air quality is also affected by burning in the summer which is why the burn ban is in effect from May to September.
The new EPA standards are expected this month.
As of now, ragweed is the number one allergen affecting our area.