I remember growing up in Maine in the 1970s on a street that had a factory with a tall smokestack that would often spew black smoke up into the air that floated over our house. It didn't smell at all, but it looked and felt dirty. It most definitely was dirty.

50 years later, things have changed. The factory is long gone and no longer polluting the air, and there are more restrictions than ever on air quality in throughout the United States.

The American Lung Association keeps track of air quality across the country. They used to run PSAs regularly about the dangers of smoking, but smoking rates have fallen sharply from 68% among adults in 1965 to 13.7% in the latest data from 2018. So they've shifted to air quality and its effect on the lungs. Each year, they issue a report on air quality within each state. How did Maine do?

There are two factors that the American Lung Association takes into consideration: the number of high ozone days and particle pollution, which is a mixture of solid and liquid droplets suspended in the air.

Maine as a whole did very well. Southern Maine was the only place that got some minor dings in Cumberland, York, Knox, and Hancock counties with up to five days with high ozone levels. Compare that to Los Angeles, which had 285 days of high ozone levels. Wow!

Maine did even better, with particle pollution levels with Oxford and Aroostook County having only one or two days of high levels.

It just proves that living in Maine is indeed "The Way Life Should Be."

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