Birmingham’s sees improvement but still falls short in latest air quality report

New information on Birmingham's air quality

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - If you have breathing problems on some days, the reason why might be found in the latest air quality report released Wednesday by the American Lung Association.

It ranks Birmingham as the 14th most polluted city for year-round particle pollution, and that's despite some improvements.

“Our goal is to not make the list, to have a clean, free, environment," said Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens. However, getting off the list is easier said than done.

The good news is, according to the association’s data, particle pollution in Jefferson County has been dropping almost every year since the 2005 - 2007 report was released.

“It’s a challenge because of the particular industries that have made Birmingham the Magic City. And it’s a two edged sword,” said Stephens.

He adds air quality can affect industry recruitment and economic development.

“The level of particle pollutant that is admitted into the air, the greater the pollutant, the less opportunity you have to recruit new businesses to the area,” said Stephens.

In fact, according to the commission president there have been times when the county has had to say no to new business.

"We’ve broadened our horizons. Used to, we were focused on the steel industry, the metal producing industry, and now we’re working throughout the gambit of industries to bring commerce into Jefferson County,” said Stephens.

Birmingham also ranks 46th for worst ozone pollution.

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