Air quality improving in Pioneer Valley, but still not great

Hampshire county went from failing grade to a "C"

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A new report shows major improvements in the state’s air quality. Hampshire County, for example, moved from a failing grade to a “C” in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report.

Seven out of the ten reporting counties in Massachusetts earned overall better grades for pollution from the past year. Hampden County also earned a passing grade.

The report, however, showed that one in five Massachusetts residents are living in counties with failing air quality, which puts them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects, such as asthma attacks.

“I haven’t really noticed that it’s particularly bad. I grew up in the city, so it’s definitely better here. If you don’t have health, you have nothing else,” Pam Hannon of Florence said.

The counties’ grades are based on two types of pollutants: ozone pollution and particle pollution.

Of the three counties that did not show improvement, Bristol and Essex Counties both received failing grades for their air quality.