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New Yakima Valley air monitor measures particulate pollution

Release Date: 10/02/2014
Contact Information: Mark Edler, Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency, 509-834-2050 x110,; Camille St. Onge, Washington Department of Ecology, 360-407-6932,; Jeff Philip, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 206-553-1465,

New air quality monitor to begin operating in Sunnyside Area

(Seattle, Washington - Oct. 2, 2014) The Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency (YRCAA) will begin operating a new air quality monitor to measure fine particulate matter in the Sunnyside region of the Yakima Valley. The monitor, located at Harrison Middle School, will gather data on particulate matter for a year. This data will help agencies to better understand air quality for this particular region of the valley and to develop effective strategies to protect air quality in the Yakima Valley.

The Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are supporting YRCAA in the air quality monitoring effort.

Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution, is a mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particulate matter is made up of a number of components including acids, organic chemicals, metals, soil and dust. The agencies are especially concerned about particles that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those particles can pass through the throat and nose into the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can contribute to a variety of health risks, including premature death in people with heart or lung disease, increased risk for heart attacks, and aggravated asthma and increased respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing. People with heart or lung diseases, children and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure.

Data from this monitor will support ongoing efforts to track air pollution levels throughout the Yakima Valley with existing monitors in Toppenish, Yakima and White Swan. While the Yakima Valley currently meets all federal health-based air quality standards, there are ongoing concerns about elevated levels of air pollution.

YRCAA is participating in the EPA PM Advance program, a collaborative effort between EPA, states, tribes, and local governments that encourages expeditious emission reductions in fine particle (PM2.5) attainment areas to help these areas continue to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The steps taken by program participants are intended to help areas reduce emissions in order to ensure continued health protection, to help areas remain in attainment, as well as to efficiently direct available resources toward actions to address ozone and fine particle problems quickly.

The new monitor will track air pollution and provide air quality levels for this particular region of the valley.

The public will be able to access data from the monitor through the YRCAA website.

For more information on the monitoring effort visit:
For more information on the health effects of particulate matter visit: