In the 2013 air quality report, the American Lung Association ranks Eugene as the 14th worst place for air particle pollution and gives the area an F grade for this type of pollution.
Those particles come from pollen, mold, and dust. The main contributor to the failing grade is burnt wood used to heat many homes in Lane County during the winter. One doctor said the inversions that trap the wood smoke in the valley during the winter months can be very dangerous for people with lung problems such as asthma and emphysema.
The LRAPA spokesperson said the report was a bit misleading about the air quality in the Willamette Valley. “We monitor everyday, so they’re looking at samples from everyday, where other communities are monitoring every third or sixth day. So we would show more exceedences of the standard because we do monitor everyday,” said Sally Markos, spokesperson for LRAPA.
Forest fires are also another contributing factor to the air quality. One doctor said last summer a number of his patients from the Bend area had to leave their homes because the air quality was so dangerous.
Markos also said the report measures the air quality in Oakridge, which has the worst air quality in the county.