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Abstract

Air quality is an important determinant of public health and quality of life. A secondary data analysis was carried out to investigate trends and air quality in Virginia. The analysis included an evaluation of two major air pollution source categories, emission of criteria and hazardous air pollutants, ambient concentrations of criteria pollutants, ozone standard violations and associated meteorology, and hospital admissions for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Virginia. Comparisons were also made to national trends and statistics. Data was gathered from many open reputable on-line sources available through various state and federal agencies. Virginia routinely meets 5 of the 6 criteria air pollutant ambient standards. Ozone does continue to represent a challenge for Virginia, as it does for many other states. Potential focus on further production and consumption of renewable energy, improvement in fuel efficiency among SUV’s and light trucks, reduction of the metals content in fuels burned by electric utilities, utilization of emissions inspections for automobiles, utilization of vapor recovery systems at gas stations, and continued emphasis on ozone precursors all have the potential to further improve air quality within Virginia. This is important because the very young and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of poor air quality.

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