Elevated fine particle pollution levels were recorded across east-central Iowa, including Clinton County, this morning. Fine particle levels above EPA health standards are likely to persist in this area today. Early Dec. 4, a cold air mass with westerly winds is expected to clear the air.
The Iowa DNR recommends that Iowans in east-central Iowa with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children limit prolonged outdoor exertion until air quality conditions improve.
The EPA’s 24-hour health threshold for fine particles is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. As of 8 a.m., the average fine particle levels for the day were 41.3 in Cedar Rapids, 39.9 and 42.1 at monitors in Clinton, 39.9, 45.2 and 47.7 in Davenport, 41.4 in Iowa City, 46.1 in Muscatine and 41.6 in Waterloo. Elsewhere across Iowa, fine particle levels averaged 17.4 in Des Moines, 28.8 in Emmetsburg, 24.1 at Lake Sugema and 18.4 at Viking Lake.
Dec. 2, air monitors in Waterloo and Muscatine recorded 24-hour fine particle levels of 38.3 and 44.7 respectively. Monitors in Davenport recorded values of 35.9, 37.6 and 42.3.
Fine particles are emitted by vehicle traffic and other combustion sources and are formed by chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Stagnant air masses do not allow fine particles to disperse, so pollutant levels rise.
EPA’s national air quality map is available online at www.airnow.gov