The American Lung Association gave Door and seven other Wisconsin counties an “F” rating for air quality in its State of the Air report. The determination is nothing new, as the air quality monitor at Newport State Park has registered high levels of ozone for years, picking up pollution that has traveled from Milwaukee and Chicago.
Door County registered 15 high ozone days between 2014 and 2016, or days when the ozone monitor showed levels at ranges that could be dangerous for at-risk groups.
At-risk groups include those with pediatric asthma (373 people in Door County), adult asthma (1,975), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (1,627), or lung cancer (16).
Door County did not register any days where pollution was considered hazardous to those in good health.
Door County’s ozone problem has long been attributed to pollution from urban areas such as Chicago and Milwaukee.
“[Door County] is located downwind of several large urban areas, making it a recipient of ozone transport from upwind urban areas with high precursor emissions,” wrote the Environmental Protection Agency in describing why it designated the portion of Door County north of the Sturgeon Bay canal as a nonattainment zone, an area with poorer air quality than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The EPA’s report went on to state that Door County doesn’t have many big ozone-polluting businesses and the county has a relatively low population, meaning vehicles are not a big contributor to the pollution.