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San Juan County, N.M., receives failing score for air quality

Region had higher-than-average number of ozone days

FARMINGTON – San Juan County received a failing score from the American Lung Association in the annual State of the Air report because the county’s ozone levels were found to be too high.

The annual report released April 21 was compiled with data collected from 2017 to 2019. This is the second consecutive report in which San Juan County was found to have a higher average of high ozone days than the previous cycle, which included 2016-18, and was above the acceptable average of 3.2 days, according to the American Lung Association.

According to the American Lung Association, “ozone and particle pollution are the most widespread pollutants – and among the most dangerous.”

For the report, 2017-19 saw an annual weighted average of seven high ozone days. While the average was seven days per year over the time period, from 2017-19, there were 21 days classified as orange days by the report. That means there were 21 days classified as unhealthy for sensitive groups.

The orange classification means there were between 71 and 85 parts per billion during an eight-hour period that day to be considered an orange day, according to the American Lung Association’s website.

Eddy, Lea, Doña Ana, Bernalillo and Sandoval counties in New Mexico also earned a failing score, with Doña Ana showing the most average high ozone days of 22.5.

La Plata County in Colorado earned a D score for the same time period and showed an average of three high ozone days a year from 2017 to 2019, which is below the 3.2-day threshold to fail a county, like San Juan.

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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