From AP - News Headlines -

Report: Cleaner Air in Champaign-Urbana Since 2006

A yearly ranking of cities and their air pollution problems lists Champaign-Urbana as relatively problem-free.

The area is listed as one of 25 cleanest when it comes to short-term pollution from particulate matter. The report covers the years 2006 through 2008 and compares metropolitan areas across the country.

Katie Lorenz is with the American Lung Association, which commissioned the study - she says Champaign-Urbana also fared well when it comes to ozone pollution over those three years.

"In Champaign there was one ozone day in the orange category, which means unhealthy levels of pollution for sensitive groups," Lorenz said. "And for that reading w gave them a B, which is actually pretty good comparatively across the state."

In comparison, McLean County had five days with orange-level ozone pollution two years ago, and Cook County had 25.

Lorenz says some long-term trends may be to credit for the improvement. "One of the reasons why we think that the quality has been better is due to reductions in emissions from coal-fired power plants. (Also,) transition to cleaner diesel fuels and engines and really the steps that individuals are taking every day to make sure the quality of our air is improved."

Still the Lung Association's "State of the Air" study found that the St. Louis and Indianapolis areas suffer significant year-round pollution despite year-by-year improvements.