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air quality

Empty classroom
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The school year is quickly approaching. But just one more month of summer may not be enough time for Sunset Lake Elementary School in Vicksburg. Thirty teachers at the school released a statement this week in which they said they cannot “in good conscience” return to school this September without making parents and the public aware of the various health issues the staff has suffered over the past year. They believe these health issues are the result of what they describe as poor air quality in the school building. 

Blue sky with sun
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As Tropical Storm Barry weakens and makes its way north from Louisiana, rain and waves of high heat will be impacting Michigan’s weather. Residents in the lower half of Michigan will see an increase in humidity levels and temperatures over 90 degrees.

Map of parts of Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Walker
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

State and local officials updated some Grand Rapids residents about possible air pollution in the southwest area of the city on Wednesday night.

The company Viant Medical uses a chemical called ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment.

Power plant
Courtesy of Duke Energy

A majority of Americans say the federal government isn’t doing enough to protect air and water quality.

That’s the latest from a national Pew Research Center survey.

The survey found 69 percent of Americans think the government isn’t doing enough to safeguard water quality, while 64 percent say the government isn't doing enough to protect air quality. 

Detroit industry
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The EPA has handed down a clear message to Michigan: your air is not clear. The agency says too many people are living in areas with unacceptable smog levels, and it is giving the state three years to come up with a plan to clean up the air.

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Air quality has gotten better in the U.S. over the last several decades.

But more recently, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions have not been decreasing the way people expected.

Lake Michigan
User airbutchie / flickr.com

Communities along the shore of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and Michigan have been recording unusually high levels of ozone for years. On some days, these levels even put them in violation of federal air quality standards.

The source of the pollution is presumed to be upwind urban centers, primarily Chicago, but little is known about how the ozone is transported to shoreline areas. 

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Poor air quality in Detroit is putting people into the hospital, and even killing some. It's making them sick and unable to go to work or school.

That's not opinion. That's a fact with scientific data to back it up.

Photo by d.boyd, Flickr

State officials plan to remove hundreds of chemicals from a long list that requires companies to perform  modeling of smokestack emissions. 

The Michigan Manufacturers Association says each model can cost between $20,000 and $100,000, and removing the chemicals will make the process more efficient.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality agrees. 

Spokesman Brad Wurfel, in an email statement, said:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The quality of Michigan’s air continues to improve. 

That’s the finding of a new report out today.

The American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report looks at a variety of issues, from 24-hour to year-long particle pollution to ozone levels.